Sunday, September 28, 2014

ANZ eDine Discount Vouchers - Alert

I received a couple of messages today which is offering a $250 eDine Discount Voucher for doing a survey. The email starts with:

Dear Customer,

Over the past few weeks we have been quietly improving ANZ online 
to make sure you are getting the best online banking experience possible 
and we chose all ANZ clients to take part in our survey about ANZ 

You should delete these emails. They are a scam.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Compare iPhone 6 to iPhone 6 Plus

Now I'm not exactly looking to buy an new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, but I was curious as to the new bigger iPhone 6 Plus. So at the earliest opportunity I decided to drop into my local Apple store. I'm lucky, there's one close to where I live.

If you're after a comparison based on specs, I'd suggest a visit to the Apple site. But for me it was about touching and feeling the iPhone. How did it feel to me? How did it feel to others?

I stood there checking out the iPhones and something surreal happened. It felt like I was in the cartoon Finding Nemo, where the seagulls were all saying, mine, mine, mine, in an amusing seagull voice. But instead, over all the noise, all I could here was, it's too big, it's too big, it's too big. What the heck I thought. Yes. It's big. That's the point. But it was good to listen and I chatted, and really it is about your needs.

I personally use the internet most of the day for what I do. A bigger screen is ideal for me. OK. Ageing eyes make it appealing as well. That small screen on my old iPhone makes it feel like I'm reading a newspaper through the letterbox. So for me I like the larger size.

The pocket test. No we weren't trying to steal the iPhone. The cable made sure of that. But a couple of us put the iPhone into our pockets and you know what, it wasn't too bad. I wouldn't sit down with it in my pocket, but I don't with my current mobile. The very thin site means the only issue is the width and height. I could live with that.

I shared thoughts with a women next to me. She could see my point of view. She showed me how here small hand could not comfortably hold the iPhone 6 Plus, so for her it made no sense.

Then the movie test. Which movie I thought. I know. The one I wrote to show those interested in JustLocal how to sign up. I was in fits of laughter. I tricked myself. The screen was so good, for me at least, that I kept clicking on my video thinking I was pressing on my actual site. They were so similar it was amazing. Fooling myself like that I found amusing. What was even more amusing is it didn't happen once, but I'd turn around and talk, forget where I was up to and trick myself again. So funny. But to me that showed me just how good the screen was.

Overall the new iPhone 6 Plus is a lovely device and if I had a business need, I'd purchase it. But I don't currently have that need.

If you're thinking about the new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, once you've read all the reviews, get to an Apple or reseller store and pick the thing up in your mitts. Put it in your pockets. Imagine and test how you'll use it. Life is about experiencing, not just about reading.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.
Helping people in the Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and surrounding area.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Centrelink online services login does not work. Services Unavailable message.

I had to check a computer as a person was trying to login the same way as they did previously and it wasn't working. All they would receive is largely a white screen. The title bar stated 'Centrelink - Login Services - Services Unavailable. The message on the page was the following.

Services Unavailable
This service in unavailable at this time. Please try again later.
The Department of Human Services apologises for any inconvenience.

After trying to log on using different computers (Windows and Mac OSX) it was decided the problem was not computer related and a call to the Centrelink online accounts support hotline 132 307 was required. The hotline is available Monday to Friday, 7 am to 10 pm local time.

The call was place. Even though this did work previously for the person, the reason it now didn't work, is Centrelink has increased security. For reasons of security it isn't appropriate to discuss the reason. If this is an issue you're experiencing, you should contact the hotline. Please do not contact myself, the writer of this post. No answer will be forthcoming. It is important the security of other services is maintained.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping small businesses with their local online presence.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alert: Your Apple ID has been Disabled for Security Reasons "Too many attempted sign ins"

If you receive one of these it is a fake.

If you check the link without opening you'll see it is an infected WordPress site. You can often check the underlying real link by hovering a mouse over the link and looking at the Status area in Windows or the pop-up on the Mac,.

You should delete these emails. Don't click on the link.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.
Covering Doncaster, Eltham, Templestowe and the surrounding area.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Alert: Internet Domain Registration Corporation - Important - Domain Expiration

When I see new or unusual scams I let people know. Those of us with domains have all received those urgent domain renewals that try to trick us into paying more to renew a domain. They are official sounding and they do trick some people.

This one is new. In this case it is very similar to the above scam but with a significant difference. The renewal price for me is $3. If people have dozens of domains paying just $3 could be tempting and get past their defences.

The email tries to scan people. Words like final notice. Failure to pay by the due date may result in cancellation of your domain.

If should be noted in this case the domain does not expire for a number of months.

Treat every offer for domain renewal as a scam. If you're wondering if your domain is up for renewal, log onto your domain company's site and check the renewal date.

Never simply pay an invoice your receive without checking. We all get fake invoices for domains and they are a scam.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.
Servicing the Doncaster/Templestowe/Eltham and surrounding areas.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Westpac - For security your card ending in xxxx has been temporarily blocked.

I received an SMS at 10:42 pm last night from Westpac. The first thought was, is this a scam? Here's the SMS so that others know what to expect.

For security your card ending xxxx has been temporarily blocked. Please contact Westpac using the number on the back of your card to confirm recent activity.

Scammers will produce very similar looking messages. Notice that important direction to you. Contact Westpac using the number on the back of your card.

Scammers may get your number, but they need to get you to go somewhere they have control. There's no link in the legitimate SMS message. There's no number to call. You have that information on your card.

I called Westpac. Took a bit of time as I had to call multiple times. Selected the wrong options. Was this a new or existing fraud attempt. Well they know about it, so must be existing. Nope. That department's only open during the day. Got there in the end. Yep. Two online gambling and two online shopping fraudulent purchases in China. Nope wasn't me. OK. Your card has now been cancelled and we'll send you new cards. Worked out something that worked for both of us.

All good. These things happen. Now I do wonder how those people got the card details? Forever a mystery no doubt.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you're in the Doncaster/Eltham region and need IT help.

Update: 30 October 2014 - The saga continues.

OK. Sent the signed declaration. The first number provided by Westpac didn't work so tried the second number which did work. Even decided to sit there watching the fax to ensure it transferred successfully. At last all done.

Not so fast. Today I received a letter in the mail saying they'd not received my response. Ah. Didn't notice the cut-off date of the 11th. OK. That's my fault for not meeting their timeline.

They did send a reminder which I actioned I thought as soon as I received it. I find often letters from banks can take a number of days to arrive. I've seen lots of people complaining in banks about the short period they've had to pay their credit card and from my observation those complaints are warranted. But hey, I'll accept it's now up to me to follow up. And yes it's 4:45 pm and they close at 4:30 pm, unless of course you're overseas when it's 24 hours. Until tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what they've done with the fax I sent. This really is quite silly. They know it is fraud. They have the information. They've processed transactions which didn't have the appropriate information, and if it did, there's a real concern as to how that information has been obtained. There's no way I can protect myself from this occurring again because banks won't tell you how something happened.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, September 08, 2014

McDonald's Monopoly rare pieces 2014 - Australia


McDonald's Monopoly starts again on Wednesday September 10th. In previous years I've published the rare pieces for Australians. Do keep in mind McDonald's monopoly is also played overseas.

NOTE: This information is only for the Australian competition.

Make a note or print off this list of rare pieces. These are the pieces that will be hard to get and earn you one of the prizes for collecting a complete set. Everyone can generally collect all the other pieces relatively easy so these the the important pieces to keep an eye out for.

The following are the rare pieces.

Stay tuned. I'll add the details as they become available.

OK. This isn't as easy as last year. Last year you could determine the rare pieces from the terms and conditions. Not a problem.

If you let me know the pieces you have using the following form we'll quickly be able to determine the hard to get pieces.  Consider this a way where we help each other to quickly work out the important pieces.

Super important tip: This year I've decided to only display the results to those chipping in, so please record the password as you contribute.

Thank you in advance for entering your pieces.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping people in your area find your local business.

If you'd like to know the rare pieces sooner please share a link using social media. The more people who contribute the faster I'll be able to work out the rare pieces so everyone will know.

As a result of your input the rare pieces are most likely known. The railroads aren't conclusive, but based on numbers so far. I'm fairly confident with the suggestion.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Apple iPhone 6 release date Australia and when the iPhone 6 will possibly be available in-store.

Apple is reportedly having a major event on Tuesday the 9th of September 2014 to announce the release of the iPhone 6. We may be able to predict when the iPhone 6 is available in-store for purchase based on previous releases of Apple iPhones.

The general pattern has been for the announcement to be on a Wednesday. Pre-orders are then announced and people can start ordering online. On the 10th day from this day (including the day), the iPhone has been made available in-store at Apple stores. Normally this has been on a Friday.

Based on this we can expect the iPhone 6 should be available in-store on the 18th or 19th of September. Whilst I have no real inside knowledge, I often wonder if the Friday has been chosen, as by making the first phones available on a Friday, those who receive it will be showing off their new phone creating demand in those people around them. The weekend is the time when more people have time available to go shopping. If nothing else Apple in the past have been great marketers.

If I was to pick one day I'd punt on Friday the 19th of September as the day people will be lined up to get the first iPhone 6 mobile phones in Australia.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Friday, September 05, 2014

What Lies Within memoir by Gary Hipworth - Test using Amazon search

What Lies Within by Gary Hipworth - Gary Hipworth is currently promoting his book on the JustLocal book page The aim of this test is to see if using the Amazon search link provides a better position in Google when the link is promoted here using the text.

I make these tests public with the aim of helping those who promote their business, or in this case, their book on JustLocal. I wish Gary success with his book.

Kelvin Eldridge

What Lies Within by Gary Hipworth added to JustLocal as an affiliate link.

What Lies Within is a book written by Gary Hipworth about his life's journey and learnings. I read the first edition of his book and couldn't put it down. I literally stayed up until around 5 am the night I received the book to complete it. Perhaps it was because I personally know Gary that it was so interesting to me, but I'd not done that before with any other book.

JustLocal is an advertising service I run and I've decided to test using the Amazon affiliate link to assist Gary to sell his book. JustLocal is really about helping the little guy and if this test works, it will give me another tool to assist those who share their passion through the written word. You can use the link above to find out more about Gary's book and you can also find the book on the page.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Google's search results now appear to know your location.

Today I did a search and the result was either creepy or convenient, depending on your point of view. Someone asked for a theme for a florist site and I thought a quick way to find an acceptable theme may be to search for the term florist and check a few sites. The result was totally unexpected.

Here are the first three organic search results when I searched for the term 'florist'. That is results that aren't paid advertising.

WOW I thought. I'm sitting in an apartment taking a bit of me time in Port Douglas. Yes the IP address I'm connecting with is for the apartment and IP addresses are often associated with a location if the IP address doesn't tend to change. I've never seen this before with Google where the organic search results are specific to my current location. That's a huge change for Google.

The change however isn't for everything you search for. If I search for 'fish and chip shop' the search result isn't related to my location. If I type in 'accommodation' I get the usual online directories and services appearing first. For 'computer support' I get some local results. For 'motor mechanic' I get local results.

Google appears to have made some decisions on what people are searching for based on their current location. I should say this isn't consistent across devices. It can be harder for Google to determine the location of a mobile device. If I use my iPhone which is connected via 3G the results are not localised. Actually they are for Melbourne so Google may think the IP address my mobile phone service provider is using is based in Melbourne.

My desire was to share this information with JustLocal users so they know of a change which may affect them. If you're a business wanting to promote yourself locally, Google may give you some advantage, but it may be a good idea to make sure your key SEO assets include the local area so Google knows you're local. Google is also not consistent. What you see when searching can significantly differ from someone else in another area. For testing it may be necessary to get someone local to assist if you're not in the area of interest.

Creepy or convenient? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Kelvin Eldridge