Wednesday, September 29, 2010

AFP pressuring govt on data retention

The following article indicates the increasing information police wish to record. I believe people should be aware of the level of information others are recording on their online activities.

AFP assistant commissioner and national manager of high tech crime operations, Neil Gaughan, said that the police is pushing for data retention through the Attorney-General's office and Commonwealth Government agencies.

Other statements in the article reinforces that Google is recording information on search histories. What you search for is known and recorded and identifiable directly to you. Given that my logs show over 90% of searches in Australia are performed using Google, most Australians are having their online activities recorded in some form already. I once read Google retains around three per cent of information pertaining to searches.

I'm not concerned what the police wish to record, but it does mean the same data is potentially available to many others.

I also read that Yahoo has retained the details of all people who have signed up to use their services since the late 90's. Whilst we may feel if the police want our information they'd need some type of warrant, from what I've read in America, once you pass your details on to a third party such as the search companies, no warrant may be required.

I find this information interesting and thought it may be of interest to others.

Kelvin Eldridge

Alert: Blog spam. What it is and how to avoid it. Don't be a victim.

As part of what I do with JustLocal, I often informally share my IT skills and knowledge with JustLocal advertisers to further assist them. I'd like to share the following comment which was posted to on my blog yesterday in case it helps others with their blogs.

Thank you for sharing this detailed walkthroughs. Its a big help for me. Keep posting. By IT Companies Melbourne

This is what I call blog spam. Companies are looking for ways to get links to their sites using your blog or site. There is no link in the actual blog. The link is in who the comment was written by and is a link to the company posting it. In this case it was a company in Melbourne.

I check all comments and have noticed a number of businesses using this practice. These business should stop their actions. They have no obvious interest in the blog and they are just using other people's resources in a way that isn't appropriate.

I don't mind companies contributing to my blog and am happy to give some link love back, but don't just use other people's resources as your latest marketing approach. Whomever is advising you is damaging your business reputation. This company is an IT support company and if they resort to such practices, then it raises questions as to their ethics. Remember the end does not justify the means (Gandhi)

You can avoid blog spam on your blog by checking each comment. Unfortunately some blogging packages don't show you the links in obvious locations. If in doubt after you post the comment, check the comment as others would see it. If you can't remove the comment then be very selective about the comments you accept. Treat the information as though you had written it, as it represents your business. Your blog is your business and comments, even written by others on the blog, reflect you.

In this case it was a thinly veiled marketing attempt, but it could be worse. You could end up sending your readers to a malicious site and end up damaging their computer.

If you value your readers then take a moment to review the information others may be posting via your site. Your readers may not thank you, but at least you'll know you are looking after them.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ultrafeedback - Research Analyst (Eltham)

I thought I'd share some of my activities today so that others will know what I'm about and what I am doing with JustLocal.

Today I went through the local news items that come across radar via the internet. To me the news I want to know about is the news that affects me locally. On a daily basis you don't hear much on local news. I thought if the local news interests me, and I'm already obtaining a feed of the news, why not share the links so that others can benefit. It takes a bit of effort and time and perhaps I should be doing other things, but really if it helps others find out what's going on locally, why not.

Today I noticed a local position in Eltham for a research analyst. A quick email to the company to see the position was current. I received confirmation back within minutes. I then blogged about the position and within minutes those following my blog in Eltham and the surrounding area know about the position.

In addition I then added Ultrafeedback which is located in Eltham to the Eltham search engine so now those looking for products and services in Eltham can use the JustLocal search engine for a total of 217 businesses.

My focus with JustLocal is to provide a way for people in a postcode area to more easily find products and services in their local area. With each JustLocal postcode page I provide advertising with a money back guarantee to help local businesses promote themselves. When I find out something I feel may interest those in a local area I send out emails to either people in the postcode area, or at other times to those within a certain distance from the postcode area. I've had to create some neat tools to make all of this happen as it can be quite time consuming.

Finding the position today was a treat for me as one of my goals by helping to strengthen local business, we get more local employment. Whilst currently people travel all over Melbourne to get to their jobs, I really see no reason why more people can't work locally. Local work for local people means the dependence on cars and our heavily subsidised public transport system is reduced. I look forward to the day where our main use of our cars is for pleasure and not work.

Right now, for most of us, we have to go where the work is. We simply don't know about or see the opportunities which are around us because it is far too costly using current media. With JustLocal my aim is to find cost effective ways using my knowledge of technology to help build a stronger local community by making local information more accessible.

You can find the Research Assistant position on the JustLocal blog for Eltham which can be accessed via

All blogs have RSS feeds which means as I post information you can automatically receive the posts. I received the posts and read them whilst out and about using the Gmail RSS Reader in conjunction with my iPhone. I've written MyAnswers solution 2018 on how to add Google's products such as their RSS Reader to the Apple iPhone Home Screen for those who are interested.

The final task I now have is to send of an email to people in the local area (most likely based on distance) about the research position.

I hope that by sharing what I do my aspirations with JustLocal become a little clearer to others.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, September 27, 2010

Possible alert: Download Skype VoIP Addons - More Free Talks

I received an email tonight which looked like it may be from Skype, written in a way that I am lead to believe it is from Skype, but I am very suspicious of it.

The subject in the email is: Download Skype VoIP Addons - More Free Talks

The body of the email contains:

Dear Skype Users,

This is to notify that new updates have been released for Skype. Following are major new features:

The links in the email aren't to the Skype site.
The email is signed by :
Anthony Norman

Skype Support

The word copyright is written as Copy rights and an error like this is unlikely to come from Skype.

The email address receiving this communication was not the email I use with Skype, but a public email address.

The email originated out of Northern America, but Skype headquarters is based in Luxembourg.

I would certainly be very suspicious of this email and not go to the links. My educated guess is this is a marketing attempt designed to make people feel they email is from Skype and thus get them to purchase a product. It may or may not be malicious.

If it was me I'd delete this email immediately.

Kelvin Eldridge

Recently documented MyAnswers solutions

The following are recent recently documented MyAnswers solutions. You can find the latest MyAnswers solutions using the recently updated link on the main MyAnswers page.

When I delete an email in Gmail it deletes all the emails that are related. How can I stop this from happening and only delete the single message I want to delete?
Google Gmail

I've reviewed the free Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo mail for use by business and found one is more suitable than the others.
Google Gmail

Why you shouldn't buy Microsoft Office 2010 with your computer even though it is the software you are going to use?

I've seen quite a range in prices for what looks like the same Toshiba notebook computer. How can I tell what they are selling is the same?

How to add Google Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Tasks and Google Reader to your Apple iPhone Home Screen.
Apple iPhone

I've typed an incorrect email into Outlook 2007 and now it keeps coming up when I go to send an email and I keep using the wrong email address. How do I get rid of the wrong email address so it doesn't appear anymore?
Microsoft Outlook

In Excel I have rows which end in an email address enclosed in brackets. That is: first name space last name space (email@domain). How do I get just the email address?
Microsoft Excel

In Excel I have rows which end in an email address. Before the email address is the word "from" followed by a space. How do I get just the email address?
Microsoft Excel

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why I don't use Facebook

When I let people know why I don't use Facebook they start to see things differently.

My initial reasons were simple. I wanted to create Facebook groups and share my information with customers. For example I've created the Australian English spellcheck dictionary now used by Google, Firefox and most other major open source projects. For those few that actually contributed back (most including the projects take and give nothing back) I wanted to use Facebook to keep these people informed.

I then found with Facebook it appeared that everything I wrote becomes the property of Facebook. Now I do the hard work and Facebook gets the rights to my work, I didn't think that's a good business decision so I closed down my use of Facebook in that way.

Over time more things happened. I began to see the Americans seem to have different ethics to us in Australia. Very young people were building massive worldwide companies and didn't in my mind have the years of experience that helps us to determine higher standards of ethics. If I were to set up a service, your information, your privacy is yours until you decide to share it. These new breed take the approach of "it's fair game".

For example my daughter said "dad do you mind not being my Facebook friend". I trust her and I respect her privacy.

However when she turned 18 Facebook flipped her information from private to totally public. She had no knowledge and I could see all her information as could the world. I then suggested she check her settings. I could still see some of her information but not most. Until I checked my other daughter's Facebook information and there was her information again, as my daughters were both Facebook friends. I again suggested she check her privacy settings.

Now with that fixed I then used Google and searched for my daughter's name. There she was and photos of eight of her friends. Press reload on the browser and I could get her next eight friends. In effect I could quickly obtain a list of quite a lot of her friends in a matter of minutes.

Now if my daughter wants to put her photo onto the internet that's her choice. But I don't think it is right that Facebook makes her friends photos available on the internet via her. Have her friends given her permission to display their photos. No. It is just assumed to be OK because of the underlying ethics built into Facebook.

Most people don't think making your information public on the internet matters. The usual argument is I'm not doing anything wrong so I have no concern from the authorities. However they seem to forget whilst big brother is watching, so too are the less reputable elements in our society.

After September 11 I read that 3% of people trying to board a plane would not be allowed to get onto an aeroplane due to security reasons and up to a total of 10% would be stopped. I also heard once that when the banks released bankcard in Australia and sent cards to everyone, there was a 3% risk which was acceptable. I went to a seminar with St George about businesses using credit cards and it was stated that business should budget for 3% loss through fraud.

So 3% is a good figure to use as a starting point. That means in any situation we can expect 3% of a group of people to be less reputable. Years ago I read there were 10,000 police in Victoria. That means 3% is 300. Whether we like it or not the less reputable live with us daily side-by-side.

An easy example of this is pirated DVDs. I was over in Thailand listening to conversations about DVDs (they are about $3 each for recent movies, but the quality I found was terrible) is it appeared almost everyone knew someone who could get them pirated DVDs from their work. That means you probably know someone who works in your company, or government organisation that is less reputable. How safe then is your information. So internally in every organisation there is a risk.

With Facebook I read of one person scraping (using programs to collect information) and building a massive database from the Facebook contacts. When they went to sell this information they were promptly stopped. Just think about it. Five hundred million people and who they are all connected to is an enormous resource. However the less reputable amongst us won't go public, they'll just trade the information and use it to their advantage.

The problem is we are now in a world where our information is being concentrated into the hands of a few. There is high internal risk when that happens and remember many of the largest companies outsource parts of their business to countries where the average person earns less than a few dollars a day, so a few thousand becomes very attractive. We all remember what happened to Google in China recently and if the biggest can't protect their systems then there is little hope for governments and businesses with less technical skill. Then we have the external risk where people can easily collect the information you make avaiable.

In the good old days there was less risk, although it was still there. With email from a local telephone company my sign up information with personal details is largely kept in their systems. Only the information I send has increased risk because of the nature of the internet. That means our private information was dispersed amongst many organisations. There are so many islands of information it wouldn't be worth the time for people to try to harvest this information. But with Facebook there are 500 million users. The meaning of six degrees of separation where all of us are supposedly connected to everyone else in this world (it was actually 12 degrees but Hollywood created the 6 degrees myth) is now much less.

I wanted to provide a real example which Australians can related to show what I mean.

Julia Gillard won't be running how own Facebook site so she will have a team of advisors guiding and protecting her. We don't have that luxury.

On the other hand her step daughter (Staci Child) just got into the press. A search of "Staci Child" and "Facebook" returns her Facebook page and eight of her friends. In theory if you wanted to get to know the Prime Minister of Australia you now have information on people who are only a few degrees of separation away. Whilst I use the example of our Prime Minister, the same applies to all the leaders of the world.

I have no doubt the government is collecting information on us, with the Federal Police reportedly pushing to have everyone's movements on the internet tracked, and whilst I don't think that is right, it won't be stopped. However that is a lower risk than the less reputable who could have access to the same information. That to me is a concern.

So next time you walk out the front door with your iPhone turned on just keep in mind it may be possible for someone, somewhere, to know, the date and time you leave your home, the direction you face, the door your took and then where you went during the day.

Take the time to learn about the technology you are using and realise there is a potential for increased exposure. There is no need to be paranoid because the 3% has always existed and always will. A small amount of care and caution will reduce grief, but in the end there will always be some. That is part of life.

I hope this article helps people to perhaps gain a little more understanding of what is happening. Just keep in mind if in the modern technological world when you get something for free, others have to make their money somehow, and the only thing they have is your information and what you do. And of course, it is entirely our own fault if something happens. It is our choice to use the services that are now available.

Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Windows Phone 7 won't support tethering

I just read the Windows phone 7 won't support tethering which is a feature on the Apple iPhone I use all the time. I accept tethering is more for the techos like myself and not the general market.

The features so far identified as missing from the new Windows Phone 7 now are:
  • Multi-tasking (limited multi-tasking)
  • Copy and Paste
  • Tethering
  • Development appears to be limited to Silverlight, but still need to confirm.
Of course this is pre-release information found on the media so it may be inaccurate but if these features are important in your decision they are worth knowing about and reviewing. It should also be noted the information I've read is generally very positive irrespective of these features.

Should I end up purchasing and Windows Phone 7 I'll share information as usual via MyAnswers.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why many people shouldn't buy Microsoft Office 2010 PKC with their computer

Most of my clients purchase Microsoft Office 2010 with their computer but for many people, buying the licence with the computer may not be the best option.

In MyAnswers solution 2020 I give examples of when some users will be better off by not buying the software with their computer.

I'm not saying don't buy Microsoft Office 2010, just to review the options and consider which is best for you

Kelvin Eldridge

Microsoft Store Links:

Download the new Office Home and Student 2010 now!

Download the new Office Home and Business 2010 now!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is it laptop or notebook?

A friend of mine and I were discussing the terms laptop and notebook. As a person working in IT I felt laptop was an old term and notebook is the current term.

However I decided to check further. I checked a few computer hardware sites and noticed something very interesting.

On the site the menus shows notebooks, but on the site it shows laptops.

The HP site for America uses laptop and uses notebook for Australia. It is also interesting to note the UK also uses laptop.

This appears to be an example of where two different words are used to describe the same product.

The Macquarie dictionary describes both words as a portable computer. The Oxford describes laptop as a portable computer but for notebook, the definition is "a portable computer smaller than a laptop".

At this stage both words are in the Kelvin dictionary. They are different words, not spelling variations of the same word. If indeed notebook is the preferred Australian English word for a small portable computer, it may mean that laptop is redundant and could be removed.

When editing the Kelvin dictionary I don't use my own understanding of words as I've found I like others, have preconceived ideas. I prefer to use the authoritative references to provide the information to include or exclude words.

For the time being both words will remain in the Kelvin dictionary and thus Word Check, since I have no conclusive reason to rule one word out of the dictionary.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why I no longer support or promote open source software projects like, Firefox, Thunderbird and Google Chrome.

I share this information in case it helps the next generation of IT students and those starting in the IT industry.

In 2003 I was interested in and put the software on around 60 machines. Myself and my family also used the software. I didn't like that there wasn't an Australian English dictionary so I developed one. What I didn't realise is the approach I took was to bite me in the end.

The project lead said to grab an existing dictionary and start from there. I took the UK dictionary and spent most of the next two weeks solid, editing the dictionary. I needed to remove over 30,000 words and then start adding words. You'll note that at no time did I or anyone consider the person who previously developed the British dictionary.

I released my work as LGPL so other IT people could benefit and I had a belief that when I help others, others would help me. Apart from a couple of people who helped a bit at the start with words, over the next few years a handful contributed a word or two. All the rest of the work was done by me consuming hundreds of hours.

I decided to try to make money from my work by charging a small fee which is OK with open source software. I was often abused as many open source users consider it their right to get everything for nothing.

Then a contributor of the Firefox project took my work and called it their own. Changed my licence by finding a loophole in the LGPL licence. Rather than contribute to my work they simply forked it. Firefox, an $80 million dollar business benefited from my work and gave nothing back.

Next I asked Google Chrome to add Australian English to their browser so I could provide my work. To their credit I found a developer who provided the software required for me to produce the dictionary in the correct format. Then the Google Chrome developers came and grabbed a copy of my work and included it in their project and gave nothing back. Now a $21 billion dollar business was benefiting from my work.

Finally Opera came along and told me they were using my work. I asked why all the projects simply leeched my work and gave nothing back. The response was it is open source after all.

An user then decided to take the Firefox files and even though I'd put hundreds of hours of work into the files, minimised the credit to me as a minor contributor.

The total income I received by various methods of trying to raise income including voluntary donations was around $150 over six years.

I estimated there was probably around a million users of my work and my daughter once said, imagine if you had $1 for each user dad. Even less would have enabled me to continue developing my Australian English dictionary work and reduced my consulting work.

I'm now building a completely original Australian English spellcheck dictionary which contains the preferred Australian English spelling.

So in around seven years of contributing to the open source community and with most of the major projects using my work, the income from open source has amounted to around $150.

I now focus my work on commercial work and commercial programs. Most of my clients use commercial software.

Once I realised I had fallen into the trap early on of taking from others with the original UK dictionary and not giving back to those who gave, I tried to make amends by apologising and also offering assistance if wanted.

I hope that by sharing this story others can benefit from my experience. Of course it is only my experience and others may have had a different experience. I am in a different situation as I am self employed and the time I put in to open source is a cost against my income. Others who may be supported by an employer's salary will have a different experience and need.


Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to add Google Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Tasks and Google Reader to your Apple iPhone Home Screen.

One my clients had a need for an application to record their tasks and they were using a Google Android mobile phone. They had a Google Gmail account and I remembered there was a Tasks application in Gmail. I added Tasks to his mobile phone, which they thought was great and thought it may be useful for Apple iPhone users (and perhaps iPod Touch) as the iPhone doesn't come with a built-in tasks app.

I've now written instructions on how to add the Google applications to your Apple iPhone Home Screen and as you can see, they look pretty neat. The solution is in MyAnswers 2018.

Kelvin Eldridge

Link: Apple Store Australia

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Free apps for iPod Touch - Metlink

The thought of being able to quickly obtain public transport information on the iPod Touch came up in conversation in our family. I decided to investigate.

I quickly located and installed the Metlink app. Because I'd used the Metlink web site I suspected there would be an app and it was easy to find by searching for Metlink.

My first impression of the MetLink app (which is free) is it was terrible. I couldn't work out what to do. I used it for a few minutes and felt it was useless to get anything I wanted. Later that night I decided to give it another go.

I pressed the Next 5 icon at the bottom which gave me a screen. I searched for Templestowe which gave me a list with streets, so this time I was making progress.

I live in Templestowe so the bus stop I was interested in was Williamsons Road in Templestowe. I went to bus stop list for the W section and there was no Williamsons Road at all. I decided to scroll to the top and do a search. There at the top in section 2, was 252 Williamsons Rd - After - Templestowe. Route 902/293/364. Who would have guessed that! Now at least I could start doing something.

I checked and the only direction was towards Doncaster. I wanted to check out the times heading for Eltham. It took me a bit of time, but the bus in the opposite direction was under Foote St/Williamsons Rd - Templestowe. Route 902/293.

At this stage I thought perhaps I should have searched for the street in the first place. I typed in the street and nothing appeared. Oops, I'd typed in Williamsoms Road. My bad as they say. I fixed the m to an n so it was correct and searched again. Nothing again. I thought don't tell me I have to enter "Rd" and not "Road". Yep. I had a list of streets again. I can't believe they'd do that. It makes sense that both "rd" and road" should work. I later tried just Williamsons without Rd and nothing appeared. Metlink certainly need to work on their search routines.

I also can't believe once you've found the road there isn't a way to just flip and to get the buses going in the opposite direction.

I decided to add this stop to my favourites. I thought that should be easy. Click on a button. Nope. I had to go through favourites which presented an enormous number of streets to scroll through. I just gave up at that point.

I think Metlink have taken something that should be much simpler to implement and made it far more difficult than it should be. I can't help feeling the normal web site is much better than their app and a printed timetable much friendlier, although a printed version will date when you least expect it and that will cause grief.

One other thing I noticed was a sync button to get updates. The updates totalled around 35MB. Whilst this review is for the iPod Touch which only uses wireless, if you use the iPhone with data and only had a small plan, I can see how apps will really chew up the data. At least Metlink let you know how much data is involved.

Overall this app doesn't impress me as it could be so much better. I'd say it is very unfriendly. At this stage I can make it work using the Next 5 icon and will in time add the entries required to the favourites.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tags: ipod touch apps, apps for ipod touch, best apps for ipod touch

Thursday, September 16, 2010

MBT shoes/runners

If anyone is interested in hearing feedback on MBT shoes, Graeme shares his experience on his blog at Currently the MBT shoes are located in Thailand. One can only wonder where they'll go next.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How do I turn off Google Instant which autocompletes what I enter?

Some people have expressed they aren't happy with the distraction of the Google Instant feature and would prefer to type in search criteria without autocomplete.

You can turn Google Instant off via the settings link on the Google page, but sometimes I think leaving the default settings standard, means if others use the computer they aren't confused as to why it works differently than expected.

With my clients in the past, they'd often set up Google search as their home page. I showed them this wasn't necessary as modern browsers have a search field at the top right. The good thing is the search field doesn't do the autocomplete (except it does show you the history if you did a similar search).

Even better is you can select a different default search engine and if you want, have multiple search engines available. I find many Australians prefer to set the default search to be pages from Australia yet this isn't easy to do in Google. By setting the default to pages from Australia, we reduce the number of results significantly and they tend to be more relevant.

If you visit my Fun With Search page you can install Google Search with the default as pages from Australia. No more autocomplete and as a bonus you obtain pages from Australia as the default.

Kelvin Eldridge

HP's WebOS and Windows 7 Slate

At the start of the year it appeared clear that HP would be producing the Windows 7 Slate as Microsoft's  answer to Apple's iPad. Then things changed and HP purchased Palm's WebOS operating system. It appeared Windows 7 Slate from HP was effectively dead. Nothing was confirmed or denied and the silence on Windows 7 Slate has been deafening.

For a while we could only guess HP would be focusing on its own WebOS based tablet device. To me that was a strategy that could be an issue. I sell HP products, but in the end it is because they run the Windows operating system, not because of HP alone. So going it alone is in my mind a very big gamble for HP.

Based on an interview at DEMO10 with HP's Phil McKinney it does appear there will be a Windows 7 Slate device coming out later this year and a WebOS device coming out early next year. (Click here to read the article.)

I think that is a good approach by HP. Incremental change is often more successful. A good Windows 7 Slate device which enables me to have to mobility of Apple's iPad device and access to my Microsoft based applications is what I need for my business. I just hope the device delivers and does so at a competitive price to the iPad. If the price isn't right, Apple's iPad will continue to become entrenched in the marketplace at Microsoft's loss of market share.

For those thinking about buying an Apple iPad or a netbook, now is probably a time where you should wait if there is no urgency to make a decision. Between now and early next year the indications are there will be a good range of devices to choose from. Of course the devices won't have a track record and Apple has the advantage of providing a known entity that you can plan around. Many of the devices will come and go very quickly and you don't want to be left with equipment that will be orphaned in just a few months. Desktops, notebooks and netbooks are currently safe choices. The Apple iPad is a relatively safe choice for specific users' need, but it will soon be feeling pressure on a number fronts, by a number of companies with deep pockets. The next safe choices may not become apparent until the middle of 2011.

Now is a good time to be a little prudent if you have the luxury of time on your side. The good thing is this will be an interesting time in the area of technology.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Backup software, Windows backup, Data backup

I've known for a couple of years, since Windows Vista came out, my clients need to replace Windows XP Professional backup with another product.  The backup program from Windows XP Pro has not been migrated to Windows Vistra or Windows 7.

Over many months I've been reviewing backup programs for potential use by my clients. My clients have been using Windows XP Professional backup for quite a few years and it has been excellent. I really wish Microsoft had made the effort to provide this software on Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Unfortunately backup in Windows Vista wasn't at all suitable and backup in Windows 7 has limitations which make it unsuitable. I've evaluated most of the software programs in the market at this level and so far they've  not met my requirements. All that is really required is for the software to be able to perform a backup like Windows XP Pro.

The program that I'm currently evaluating is CyberLink PowerBackUp 2.5. I've found the program to be easy to use and whilst it is marginally slower than Windows XP backup (I haven't tested the speed without compression on), it has features I've wanted that work, that didn't work in Windows XP backup.

 CyberLink PowerBackUp 2.5 has met my own requriements for my business and so I've purchased a copy for my business. This enables me to test the backup program in a live production environment before a client uses the program.

At $36.39 (it is currently discounted 20%) it isn't about the money. What is important to me is the program is reliable and can handle my clients' needs. Clients that range from a single person business, up to roughly 20 users. So far  CyberLink PowerBackUp 2.5 has done what I've required from it and done it well.

For smaller businesses it is possible to use zip and file copies to perform a backup, but what I find is a backup program provides a structured approach to backup, which is far more productive. To perform my full backup I only need a couple of steps to complete the backup, plus I get a verification done at the end, which confirms the backup has worked. Zip and copy strategies don't provide this extra level of assurance and have other limitations which is why I don't recommend zip and copy strategies to clients.

If you're interest in a backup program, download the trial and give  CyberLink PowerBackUp 2.5 a go. If you like Windows XP Pro backup, you'll like  CyberLink PowerBackUp 2.5.

I will be sharing more information with clients in the MyAnswers solution I am currently writing when the article is complete.

Kelvin Eldridge

Disclosure: Should you click on the Cyberlink PowerBackUp 2.5 and purchase the software I receive a commission.

Monday, September 13, 2010

IE9 beta release date - Get read for a more beautiful web

Today I saw my first banner ad promoting the IE9 (Internet Explorer 9) beta release date which is on the 15th of September. Keep in mind our clocks are ahead of America, so the 15th of September is often the morning of the 16th for us in Australia.

If you run some form of web site it will be a good idea to get a copy of IE9 and check the compatibility of your site. There isn't any rush as it is a beta. Only a small section of your client base might be affected and since they are using beta, it is to be expected.

Whilst I'm ever hopeful that Microsoft will include spellchecking in their browser I'm not being optimistic. I can't believe Microsoft is so behind the market and oblivious to what I think is an important function of any modern browser. It doesn't surprise me when I constantly see Microsoft using American spelling in their promotion to Australians (e.g. software license)but one day they'll hopefully realise the importance of localising their software to more closely suit the country they are selling to. Fingers crossed this functionality is included.

Internet Explorer 8 was a good improvement on IE7 and most of my users found IE8 was much quicker. Windows 7 is a significant improvement over Vista. Let's hope they've kept the same momentum going for IE9.

As I find issues with IE9 I'll share them via MyAnswers.

Kelvin Eldridge

Micorosft Windows Phone 7 date appears set for announcement

I'm interested in seeing Windows Phone 7 in action and it appears the launch date for an event in New York is October 11th.

It appears each of the current mobile phone producers want to be the single point of providing apps for their phones. This enables them to get a cut of each app sale. I'm not a fan of this approach as I don't feel I should have to release a product via an app store if I want to provide an app for my clients. Why pay a percentage when really I'm the one generating the business? I'm hoping Microsoft's new phone becomes the developers phone and again gives developers some control over their destiny. I'm not sure this is going to happen.

The issues I've seen so far is Windows Phone 7 lacks copy and paste (a feature I use regularly) and isn't true multi-tasking. It would have been nice if Microsoft enabled Visual Basic developers to develop for Windows Phone 7, as that would have reduced the learning curve for millions of developers and an immediate point of entry into mobile phone development.

If we look at the cost to develop for the iPhone for the average developer, it requires a Mac and for me, a steep learning curve to learn Objective C. Given the average return for a developer of apps for the iPhone, I can see a lot of developers never making a return for their time and effort whilst Apple makes hundreds of millions of dollars. I was hoping Microsoft would have made it easier for developers, but sadly I think that isn't going to be the case and there will be a need to learn Silverlight.

Having said this, whilst the Windows Phone 7 isn't what I would have liked, but that's OK. It will still be good to see what Microsoft has produced and to see how the market responds. To me choice is a good thing and Microsoft will shortly give us another mobile phone operating system to chose from.

Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Farang in Thailand visits Koh Samui staying at hotel Tango

I've been to Thailand twice and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to stay for longer than the usual one to two weeks, you can follow Graeme's adventures as he shares his experiences from an Australian's perspective.

As I understand it the locals refer to us white people as Farangs. The term isn't considered derogatory and we consider it a bit of fun. You can follows the adventures of a Farang in Thailand at

Thanks for sharing your travels Graeme. I'm sure others will find them interesting as well.

Kelvin Eldridge

PS. If you'd like to keep Graeme in Thailand longer then support him by purchasing from these businesses and we'll all continue to get some great insights into life in Thailand. Graeme's page is sponsored by JustLocal. Helping people to live their dream.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Alert: Notification of probable compromised website (AusCERT

If you receive an email with the subject Notification of probable compromised website (AusCERT you should investigate further.

One of the services AusCERT provides is to let site owners know if their site has been compromised. A very common approach for malware distribution is to hack sites and use other people's sites to distribute malware. A notification from AusCERT is worth taking seriously and investigating further.

In this case we were asked to confirm whether an email from AusCERT was legitimate or a fake. We found the site had been compromised and action was required.

Keep in mind it is always possible for malware writers to pretend to be from AusCERT, so you should exercise caution with such emails

If you are not confident, you should contact a suitably skilled computer professional to assist.

Kelvin Eldridge

How do I create a Restore Point in Windows 7?

MyAnswers solution 2014 covers how to create a restore point in Windows 7. This came up as a result of one person needing to install an older driver to solve their problem. Before installing software which may potentially cause your computer problems, it is a good idea to create a restore point.

MyAnswers solutions are free to JustLocal advertisers. This means JustLocal advertisers not only get to promote their business with a money back guarantee, but they can take advantage of solutions in MyAnswers which could save their business many times the cost to advertise on JustLocal.

MyAnswers now contains nearly 2,000 solutions to problems I've solved for clients as part of my consulting activities. Real solutions to real problems. I use the solutions in MyAnswers to regularly save clients money and time. JustLocal advertisers can now take advantage of the solutions in the same way as my clients do.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Apple Doncaster Shoppingtown

I enjoy going to the Apple store in Doncaster Shoppingtown, but sometimes I wonder. When I get service the people are very friendly. Sometimes though it takes a while to get service. Recently a neighbour went in to check about getting their Apple iPhone screen replaced. I believe it was a Saturday. They were told they needed to make an appointment. When they went to make the appointment the next appointment was on the following Thursday. They weren't particularly happy. The price was going to be around $200-$300 to get the screen replaced which only had a minor scratch. They decided to take it to another place in Doncaster Shoppingtown and had the screen replaced in a couple of hours for $99.

Often I think "why don't I just buy from the Apple store in the internet". Last Saturday we went to Shoppingtown and trying to get into the car park was so bad (a common experience) we got out as fast as we could and went to Ringwoord instead. With the Apple online store there is no travelling time, no struggling to get a car park, no waiting for a person to serve you, and from what I can see, free shipping. Sounds pretty good to me to place the order and then simply wait for the Apple product to arrive. For my next Apple purchase I might just give the Apple online store a go.

The new products that have caught my attention from Apple are the Apple iPod Touch and the Apple TV. I'm really only curious about the Apple TV at this stage. I find I get most of my information from the online site, but I still like to check out what the products look like which is where the store still comes in handy.

Kelvin Eldridge

Maxing tax deductions for travel

I've found quite a few people who run their own business are often not clear on what they can and can't claim for travel expenses. I read the following article and thought others may benefit from the information provided.

Maxing tax deductions for travel

Kelvin Eldridge