Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Alert: Removal in Melbourne blog spamming to promote their business.

Removal in Melbourne is blog spamming to promote their business. The practice of posting irrelevant comments on other businesses's sites to promote a business is call blog spamming and is a tacttic you should avoid when promoting your business. It shows a total lack of business ethics or consideration for otheres. The admins who have to remove the undesirable and space wasting comments.
If you're thinking of using Removal In Melbourne, use another business that sticks to good business practices.
If you're thinking about promoting your business or getting a business to promote you on the internet steer clear of those using blog spamming. It can only hurt your reputation.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Alert: PayPal - Notice of Policy Updates

I received an email with regards to a policy update from PayPal. My concern with scam emails is clever scammers at some point will send an email that is so real, so believable, that it has the ability to trick everyone. If you think you can't be fooled think again. Chances are you've been fooled many times previously in your life by a good salesman. Been told something that isn't true and accepted it as true. Scammers simply tend to use the internet now and simply trick us out of our money for nothing in return.

So when I received the email from PayPal I check the links as usual. They looked OK. But then as per the advice I give everyone, I didn't click on the PayPal link in the email to check the information. I opened the browser, went to the PayPal site and logged on. There I checked the notifications and found additional information.

Previously when you refunded money where people paid using PayPal, the amount was refunded and any fees were also refunded. Now PayPal has decided to refund the money, but then charge the seller the fixed fee component which is currently 30 cents. Not a great amount of money but knowing previously there was no cost to refund, kept things pretty simple and provided a little peace of mind. Now if you refund the payment you'll not only refund the money, but also have to pay the PayPal fee for the transaction. For my level of transactions this will make little difference. For businesses doing a lot of transactions that require a lot of reversals this could add up.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another waste of taxpayers' money. New lights on Main Street Greensborough

<<< photo missing >>>

I couldn't believe it today when I walked up Main Street in Greensborough. There is new set of pedestrian lights in a silly location.

Up the hill about 50 to 80 metres is already a set of pedestrian lights at the entrance to the Greensborough Shopping Centre. This is where most of the foot traffic is.

Down the hill again less than 100 metres is another set of lights.

Anyone using the lights ends up simply at a bank.

Buses now have to stop at another set of lights. No wonder buses find it hard to run to schedule and we have to waste money on bus lanes.

Good one to the council or government department that simply wants to keep wasting our money.

A shocking waste of resources. We really do need someone to keep this government in check because they're not spending our taxes wisely.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paid surveys - Can you make money? Which sites are best?

On the 31st of December I decided to start testing online survey sites to see if people really can make money. You'll see promotions which suggest you'll make up to $50 per survey. Is this true? What can you really make? Will you ever answer enough surveys to get paid? Will you ever get paid?

These are questions I decided to answer. On the 8th of January I started a log of the survey companies, the surveys I complete, the payment for each survey and the equivalent hourly rate, 

I've decided to continue running these tests for 28 days. This should be sufficient time test the sites and determine the best sites and worst sites. The results will be published as a MyAnswers solution.

If you're interested in doing online surveys to generate some additional cash, send me an email and I'll let you know when the MyAnswers solution is available. Save time and effort by taking advantage of the time (estimate to be over 40 hours) I'll have put into completing surveys and get the maximum return for your efforts. At a minimum you'll know what you're getting into and what to expect.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Alert: Accounts Department - Electricity Payment

I noticed a new social engineering scam I'd not seen before. The body of the email is the follow.

Dear Sir/Madam!
Your annual kWh usage report for 2013 was formed. The limit for electricity consumption was exceeded by you.
We will prolong your discounted energy tariff,if you pay the debt promptly.  Below you may review your updated electricity bill

Even though this is a poorly written scam attempt, the concern I have is many people are moving to energy retailers where they offer discount and you pay an amount each month towards the bill. Most people don't see the information as time progresses and just assumes it's working as it should. However if they get a notification letting them know they've exceeded their budget they may get tricked.

Always treat every email you receive as a potential scam, even if it appears to come from someone you deal with.

The best advice I can give to people is to trust your instinct. If there is a thousandth of a second where the thought enters you mind that doesn't feel right, then slow down and be more thorough. Nature has given us instincts that have evolved over millions of years and they tend to work better than the best computer minds. Most people say to me after they've infected their computer something just didn't feel right. You know what, they were right.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703 for computer support.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Crossword dictionary. Would anyone be interested if I developed a web app to help solve crosswords?

I like to write fairly simple calculators and make them available online for others to use. If you visit www.justlocal.com.au/apps you'll see that I've been quite busy writing calculators to do a variety of tasks. In essence, I use these dictionaries myself, so for me they serve a purpose and if others use them too, that's great also.

I envisage the crossword dictionary solver would enable you to enter the number of letters and then enter the letters you already know. If the list of matching words is under a certain number then the list will display.

Before putting too much time into developing a crossword dictionary solver using the preferred Australian English spelling, I thought i'd ask you my readers. Let me know if it would help you by leaving a short comment against this blog post. Thank you in advance for your feedback.  

Kelvin Eldridge 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Can I make money from online survey sites?

Those reading my blog will notice I decided to test the online survey sites with the aim of determining if they're worthwhile in terms of earning some income. If you read the information provided by the sites most sites will let you know, don't give up your day job. In my opinion, so far based on my tests, if you have a choice of doing overtime or paid surveys, go with the overtime. You'll be so far ahead it isn't funny.

I decided on the 8th of January to start recording in detail the time spent completing surveys. I actually started this on the 28th of December, but didn't log the information in detail at that time. So far I've signed up for 17 online survey sites. You should allow half an hour to complete the initial profile information and each day you'll receive emails which you need to check. Unfortunately quite a few of the emails won't offer any value and simply consume time before you've read enough to decide to simply delete it, or visit the site to then realise you've wasted your time. I haven't included the time involved in those emails. You'll also get some marketing where they offer shopping rewards, or entry into prizes. I consider those to be of little value. In effect you're gambling your time against the possibility of winning something and like all gambling, there's usually one winner and a lot of losers.

Since the 8th of January (admittedly not long so far) I've completed 13 paid activities out of a total of 29 invitations or registrations. Most registrations give you very little but I found one site which paid $5.10 as a result of the sign-up process. Now keep in mind I can't collect this money until I reach $30. None of the sites during this period would have paid enough to actually provide a payment. My feeling is either you'll never get paid because whilst you do some surveys, you may not hang in for the few months required to reach a reward, some sites may not send you enough surveys to ever reach your threshold, or the money you earn will trickle in over time, but it won't be that great.

So how much have I earned since the 8th of January. Remembered this is earned but not yet entitled to receive. The total amount has been $28.82. The average hourly rate for this work has been $5.82. This works out at an average of $7.21 per day. The maximum I earned during one day was $10.90. I could not have earned more per day because I did everything I could in terms of answering surveys.

In terms of an hourly rate I consider this to be nothing short of using people if people do this to make money. One site said they'd pay 35% of the money they receive for doing surveys. That means they keep two thirds. Companies who farm the survey work out to other companies to organise the completion of surveys most likely want to reduce their costs. They could easily get people to do the surveys and pay them if they wanted to, but they generally want to save money. In effect they simply want to pay people less if they can. They pass the work out to survey companies and then the survey company keeps a large slice for themselves making it close to impossible to earn what would be considered a reasonable hourly rate. If you don't have a source of income, or perhaps are on the pension and want to top up and have nothing better to do with your time, then perhaps surveys may be worthwhile. But if you need additional income or even a first income, surveys will end up being equivalent to slave labour for you.

As a note, keep in mind I haven't included all the time but just the time to complete the actual surveys. The time to read the survey site, check out the terms and conditions, check out whether they're actual survey sites and not competition sites or marketing sites in disguise, as well as checking the value of rewards for the effort put in, has not been included. If I included this time I'd estimate the return on the time involved would be $1-$2 an hour at most.

I'll keep logging the surveys I do and see if things improve. Ultimately my aim is provide people with real information so they can make better decisions as to whether it is worthwhile completing online surveys to make additional money. I've read lots of sites saying there are better ways to make money online, yet most of those sites don't tell you what those better way are, or if they do, it is their product or service which if you investigate is largely what I'd consider a con and won't pay you much either. They knock survey sites and then present the solution which is not really a solution at all.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703 for computer support.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Suzy Lopez from Mobile Computer Geeks blog spamming to generate business.

When dealing with a computer support person or group you are often trusting your business or private information to the business when you require support or computer repair. If a computer business is using suspect business practices to promote their business then you should steer clear of them. Suzy Lopez from Mobile Computer Geeks just added the following to my blog. I removed the link so others don't visit their site.

Hello Kelvin.
I always try to keep myself updated regarding to the computer issues. Your blog will help me a lot in computer repair.
<link promoting their site removed>.

The post on my blog does not contain usable information and simply provides a link to a MyAnswers solution I make available for clients.

Computer businesses know more than anyone what they are doing is unprofessional and wrong when they simply write comments on another business' blog to promote their own business. If businesses like Mobile Computer Geeks use questionable businesses practices for self promotion, then you should question their integrity and avoid them. Before using a computer business, perform a search using Google and see if they've been blog spamming to promote their business. Blog spamming is a good indication they are not a professionally run business.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703

PS. You may also wish to check any links or images of the person posting the blog spam. In this case the photo wasn't of the person but one which can be found on many sites across the internet, so in all probability not the actual person. Legitimate businesses don't use photos of others to promote themselves. Also the Google+ profile contains no other information. Again another indication it isn't legitimate and just blog spamming.

Friday, January 10, 2014

MyAnswers: Myki overcharges in a known situation.

The following MyAnswers solution 2444 is now available:

I've noticed Myki to be overcharging and once you know you can avoid this particular overcharging situation.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Haier HRF-224F W refrigerator/freezer from The Good Guys

A family member needed an inexpensive smaller refrigerator/freezer. We ended up purchasing the Haier HRF-224F W refrigerator/freezer from The Good Guys.

Unfortunately the refrigerator runs far too cold (even after changing the setting) and freezes liquids. There is no way to adjust the fridge so it runs in what I'd consider the normal range of a refrigerator.

In this case I'd suggest the saying, 'you pay for what you get', is very true. I wouldn't recommend this refrigerator.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703

Are local businesses ripping us off?

Last night I was in the city and stopped by a Thai Restaurant for a bite to eat. We ordered a Massaman curry and a Nasi seafood. Both dishes we'd order locally. The restaurant was one of those small shop front restaurants in Swanston Street. The cans of drink were $2.50. We had table service and the staff were pleasant. This isn't fine dining but it is quite acceptable.

It made me think about Noodle Box in Doncaster East and the Thai restaurants I order takeaway food from in Templestowe. I received two large prawns in the Nasi seafood, an excellent tasting dish at a sit down restaurant for $9.90. With Noodle Box in Doncaster East if I order the Nasi seafood, I'm actually lucky to get a prawn at all (I have complained in the past, but now given up) and the Nasi without the prawns is around $13. A local Massaman curry takeaway is likely to cost around $14.

I remember one local businessman saying he charged local customers more because he was convenient for them and paid his staff less because they didn't have to travel as far. It feels to me like local businesses in the suburbs are overcharging because they can. I'm all for supporting local businesses but if they aren't providing as a good as value as you can get elsewhere it does make you question their business model. A sit down restaurant in the city charging much less than a quick takeaway in the suburbs simply doesn't make sense.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703

Melbourne Central food court focaccia a disappointment

Check out the filling on this toasted focaccia purchased at the Melbourne Central food court yesterday. At nearly $10 you'd expect a little more filling.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Red Energy increased electricity rate used in Energy Cost Calculator.

Each year I update the Energy Cost Calculator with the latest electricity price from Red Energy. I no longer use Red Energy as my supplier because I can get better rates elsewhere, but I keep using Red Energy for the calculator to make it easier for anyone to get an idea of how much an appliance is costing them.

The current rate from Red Energy without discount is now 26.235 cents per kWh.

The subtle increase I find is the cost to service to the property. Electricity companies I suspect know people compare rates for usage of electricity and are possible less likely to compare the cost to service the property. This rate continues to increase possibly faster than the usage rate. If you're shopping around for electricity make sure you consider the service to the property. We are a lower user of electricity and the service to the property makes up around 25% of the cost of electricity for us. We save a consider amount just by finding a supplier with a lower service to property charge even though they don't discount this charge.

Ultimately I suspect the electricity companies could price themselves out of the market by increasing the service to the property faster than the usage rate. Telstra did the same with the cost of the telephone line to the property and now many people no longer have a landline. At $1.10 per day which is $400 a year, over ten years this is $4,000. Fuel cell technology which uses natural gas is currently well above this price, but if there were some future development which would enable fuel cell technology to be put in the home for a capital cost of $4,000 it may be possible for people to use natural gas only to power their home. The higher the electricity companies make the service to the property the greater they risk to their business. Wouldn't it be great to get rid of one of the utility bills.

Kelvin Eldridge

Paid online surveys Australia

Those reading this blog will have read I decided to test the online survey sites from the perspective of making income. So far the return has been tiny compared to the time involved so I'm not quite sure whether pain online surveys is little more than slave labour. I've heard of legitimate market research companies that pay up to a hundred dollars for an hour or two of your time, so it is possible to make reasonable money, but whether online surveys simply uses people for little return I haven't quite made up my mind.

What I did find particularly interesting is I signed up using SurveyCompare thinking they were a survey site, where in fact they make their money by signing you up to other survey sites. A couple of the sites SurveyCompare put forward are little more than competition sites and to me making money isn't about entering competitions, but about being paid a reasonable rate for your time. 

I then thought what if I use my Australian Search engine I wrote and search for online surveys (http://www.advancedsearch.com.au/SearchAustralia/search.php?q=online%20surveys) and there I found a good range of online survey sites with Australian domains. I've decided if time permits to test each of those sites to see if perhaps they pay better. If you're interested in the sites make sure you can find their Australian ABN on the site, skip the survey software sites and only consider sites which pay you for your effort in either money or vouchers you can easily use. Only testing will determine if any of the online survey sites pay reasonably for your effort. Keep in mind there are a lot of scammers out there and payment for your opinion is a known scam so tread carefully with sites and make sure you do your research on each site first.

At this stage I have a feeling the online survey companies are taking advantage of the desire for people to make some money, no matter how small, and are thus using the internet to reduce their costs and make a profit. One survey I received was aimed at high paid executives and I really can't see how any business would want to use the online survey companies to get quality research results. No high paid executive would waste their time to be paid under a $1 an hour. Somehow I don't think some of the online survey companies are being open with their clients as to how they're getting their surveys answered. Serious companies wanting quality information I believe will pay a fair and reasonable amount. For example Coles offers shoppers a $5 discount each month simply for providing feedback on their shopping experience. That is a fair and reasonable amount.

If time permits I'll write up the results of my online survey investigation as a MyAnswers  olution and make it available to clients. I'm particularly interested in finding online survey sites that offer a fair and reasonable return, and what would be even better is a regular return.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Get to Google faster. Update your default search engine. Sure/No thanks

I don't know about you, but those messages from Google every time I visit their site annoy the living daylights out of me. Surely after hitting No thanks dozens of times they'd get the message. Thank goodness I don't have to put up with them as much as my clients, even when my clients have set Google as their home page.

I use Search Australia which is a search engine I created. Search Australia uses Google's services some I'm still getting the results from Google, but the results shown are for sites with Australian domains. I can still search all of Google by putting a 'g' before what I want to search for (or b for Bing and y for Yahoo), but most of the time I search I want Australian sites. I don't want to see sites from overseas companies that have such a strong presence they dwarf the results from Australian sites. If I want to check the road rules I don't want to see the results from UK sites.

Best of all, no nagging from Google. No nagging to make Google my default search engine and no nagging to switch to Chrome. If Google's nagging is annoying you then set Search Australia (www.AdvancedSearch.com.au/SearchAustralia) as your home page. I now also have Search Australia as the default when open a new tab. The less I use the Google home page the happier I am.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703

Microsoft Security Essentials installation error. Cannot complete the Security Essentials Installation. Error code:0x80070643.

I recently repaired a client's computer and had to remove AVG because it was causing Windows 7 to hang on start-up. AVG had been installed because too much time had previously been put in trying to get Microsoft Security Essentials installed. At some point when an issue can't be economically resolved in terms of time you have to fall back to an alternate solution. Now that solution which was AVG had become a problem.

Like most people when I'm researching a problem I check the internet and there are a lot of people in the same situation. None of the solutions people were trying worked for me and many did not work for others either. There really wasn't a solution which I could find which worked. I decided to persist as this problem had occurred a number of times across my clients and a solution would allow me to install Microsoft Security Essentials.

It did take some time but I found a solution. I've listed previous solutions and the current solution in MyAnswers solution 2436. This solution is available to clients for a nominal cost and for those who aren't clients, I charge the equivalent of half an hour of time to become a client and have access to my database of solutions. The aim of MyAnswers is to enable me to document solutions and by using those solutions save clients time in the future which reduces the cost to clients. Clients are welcome to request solutions and use a DIY approach to further save costs if they wish. If a solution doesn't work there is no cost to clients and if it does work, the client saves money for a small outlay for each solution they use.

You can find MyAnswers via my site www.OnlineConnections.com.au and also via the convenience link MyAnswers.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703

Friday, January 03, 2014

Is SurveyCompare legitimate and can I make reasonable money from doing online surveys.

Recently I saw advertisements on the internet for SurveyCompare. The impression their advertising gave me was they had clients who wanted to find out people's opinions. I like to test services so I decided to sign up and find out more.

It turns out SurveyCompare isn't what I thought it was. SurveyCompare to me is little more than a business that is promoting other businesses. It is the other businesses that have the clients that would like you to do surveys. Often these other businesses will pay a small fee to a business to promote them and get people to participate. That to me is what SurveyCompare is doing.

You actually don't need to participate through SurveyCompare at all. All you need to do is to know the list of businesses that want the surveys done and sign up direct. In a way this is the value that SurveyCompare is offering, that is to save you time finding the survey sites. SurveyCompare submits your information to the other sites and then you receive links to complete your information for the survey site. In most cases SurveyCompare passes on only a little information and doesn't really save much time compared with signing up direct.

The sites SurveyCompare promotes are:

Valued Opinions
Your Voice
Mint Surveys
Big GiveAway (this is a competition site and not a survey site)

As to whether you can make reasonable money I have a feeling I doubt if you could return a good amount for the time involved. I signed up on the 30th of December and after four days am probably lucky to have made about $5 in total across a number of sites. None of this is available often until I make about ten times that amount on a particular site. Completing all the profile question was time consuming and I'd have already put in somewhere between 5-10 hours. Each day I receive a couple of survey invitations where I again ask questions but then find I'm not a suitable candidate. More time with no return.

Whilst I'm not particularly concerned, it should be noted that these sites now have considerable information about me, my interests and my buying habits. I am hoping that information isn't passed on and I start getting direct marketing material. I don't think so because the value the survey companies have is by not providing this information to clients so clients have to use their services as that is how they make money. So far I've not received any additional unexpected marketing.

So to the questions is SurveyCompare legitimate and can I make a reasonable amount of money doing online surveys, the answer is SurveyCompare appears to be legitimate but not what I thought they were. To me SurveyCompare is little more than an affiliate marketing front end. How they can place on their site logos of major companies and the companies don't do anything about it I don't know. I for one wouldn't want companies to use my business logo without direct permission. Perhaps they have received it, but since they don't directly work with the companies I can't see how they could have. You can easily avoid providing your information to SurveyCompare by going direct to the sites for the survey companies and signing up. 

As to making reasonable money, I don't think this is likely. I consider reasonable money to be a third to a half of what you'd receive for employment since you can do surveys in your own time when you'd otherwise be doing nothing and you don't have the overhead cost of going to and from work plus all the associated work costs. Because your costs are negligible you don't have to earn as much to get a reasonable return. However, based on the hours invested so far equating to about $1 an hour or less, I don't consider this to be a good or acceptable return.  I will however continue to test the various survey sites over the next week or two and see if the return improves.

Kelvin Eldridge 

UPDATE - 3 January 2013
Received an email from SurveyCompare for Great Australian Voucher. This is little more than an entry to win a gift card but then uses marketing designed as a survey. Don't fall for it. This isn't a real survey for your opinion, just a survey to get leads for businesses. This has nothing to do with making money from doing surveys and is just disguised direct marketing.

UPDATE - 11 May 2017
I've now made available my report on Online Survey sites which I wrote in 2014. You can find it at http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/onlinesurveyreport/.

UPDATE - 24 January 2019
When doing the surveys I created a calculator that would help me work out if the survey was worth doing or not. The Survey Rewards Calculator allowed me to enter the points or minutes for the survey, the reward and determine the equivalent hourly rate. Who really wants to be working for $1 or $2 an hour. I found the calculator and thought I'd make it available to others. You can find the calculator at www.onlineconnections.com.au/surveys/.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Target T-shirt sheets go 'bally' (pilled) after the first wash.

The T-shirt sheets from Target are appealing to the younger generation. They feel soft and fit snug to the bed. However you probably should skip them. The T-shirt sheets from Target were rough with pilling after the first wash. The sheets after less than six months aren't appealing and will most likely be replaced. 

Kelvin Eldridge 
Ph: 0415 910 703