Saturday, May 30, 2015

Good Food and Wine Show offer - $10 off ticket

I received an alert for the Good Food & Wine Show for $10 off a ticket from Westfield Doncaster. I must admit I was really quite lost. My first though where would Westfield Doncaster hold such as show. It took a couple of clicks on links to realise Westfield Doncaster wasn't actually holding a show. Westfield Doncaster were most likely simply involved in some way and making an offer.

For those interested in the Good Food & Wine Show I thought I'd pass on the offer in case it is of interest.

For JustLocal members if you're looking for a quality wine then check out the award winning wines from Wupy do.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, May 29, 2015

TPG Home Phone - Calls to the destination you have dialled are currently congested OCA0142

Now we all know that technology breaks down and that also applies to the home phone. Tonight we received a call to our mobile letting us know that our TPG home phone was not working. I decided to call our home phone number and received the following message.

"Calls to the destination you have dialled are currently congested OCA0142"

I keep an old telephone headset so I can remove any other telephone device and simply go back to square one with a simple device, a single handset plugged directly into the line. Picking up the handset and all I received was a set of beeps. The same beeps I'd heard on each of our wireless handsets, so not an equipment problem.

Next I decided to check the internet. Amazingly the internet is still working. The TPG sites lists there's "no issue reported". They certainly have that wrong. It makes me wonder why they bother having a Service Status page if the page never seems to be correct.

Next I decide to call the technical support line. In this case I get a message along the line, "we are currently receiving a larger the expected number of calls..." and then I get hung up on.

Ah well. With all the technology we have at our disposal TPG can still not keep us informed. I accept we'll always have issues with technology and things break down. That's life. However not being able to get through to report a problem are not seeing a problem has been reported on their Service Status page, well...that's just poor service. The real pity is I've found most telcos are the same.

The good thing is we do have back up technology with mobile phones. Always good to have redundancy built into your life so these things are more annoyances rather than major issues.

I suppose I should be thankful. At least I won't get calls tonight from telemarketers;-)

Kelvin Eldridge

Myaa newsletter spam.

I've received a Myaa Newsletter a couple of times now via email. I really don't know why companies spam. I only deal with legitimate companies and to me, any company that spams for business isn't a business I'd deal with. I highly recommend that you delete these emails and contact a local company or ask for a referral.

If you're thinking about spamming to get your message across and promote your business, then do think again. It really isn't worth it.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping local business

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Are you sick of ads slowing down your internet experience?

I was reading an article today and the article mentioned many sites ran very slowly because of the additional sites they need to link to. One site had 45 additional sites that needed to be linked to. In many cases the sites are advertising sites.

It occurred to me that often the advertising sites use Javascript to provide their ads. I have ads on my site and the code uses Javascript. I decided to test my site by turning off Javascript in the browser. The result was the ads didn't display and the page loaded fast.

Perhaps a good way to approach this is to have one browser with Javascript enabled and another browser with Javascript disabled. If when using the browser with Javascript disabled you find something isn't working as desired, then open the other browser for that site.

Happy faster browsing.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

iiNet provide small businesses with the ability to provide Wi-Fi internet access at no additional cost.

I saw the following ad and thought it may be of use to some business owners, such as those who may own a cafe or similar business.

I've not checked or used the offer personally, but it does look like iiNet will provide the equipment and installation that will enable a business to provide internet access to their customers. If the cost is around the same as just having their own internet facilities, this may be something worth investigating.

Please check this out thoroughly yourself. I'm simply passing on and advertisement I saw which I felt may interest others. In the past I have used iiNet for one client and they were a good provider. iiNet it appears is being taken over by TPG. I don't find TPG's domestic service to be as good as it could be, but for the price, it's often good enough.

Kelvin Eldridge

ATO to require UberX drivers to register for and remit GST.

Now I didn't see that one coming. Over time in business we all learn the rules that apply to us but if it isn't in our area, often there's rules we don't even think about. I found the following article particularly interesting because it affects those providing "ride-sourcing" such as UberX drivers.

What is particularly interesting is those providing taxi services need to register for GST and the $75,000 threshold does not apply. If I read the rules correctly, that means "ride-sourcers" will also need to register for an ABN.

From the article "ride-sourcers" have until the 1st of August to register for GST.

This article isn't meant to endorse UberX drivers but simply to raise awareness.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Energy usage monitor and other devices available from Aldi on Saturday the 23rd of May 2015.

Some time ago I created the Energy Cost Calculator web app to assist in determining my energy usage and reduce our electricity costs. The result has been significant with an estimated saving of around $700-$900 a year. All that was required was some knowledge and then some changes in our electricity habits.

On Saturday Aldi is selling a few devices I've used to assist in reducing our energy usage. My favourite is the foot switch for $9.99.  The energy usage monitor is very useful in determining how much electricity your devices are using and that knowledge helps you plan and make adjustments. For $14.99 the energy monitor is a worthwhile investment. The four individual remote controlled switches can be purchased for around the same price at Bunnings, but they're also very handy for conveniently turning off appliances when desired.

Kelvin Eldridge
Energy Cost Calculator

Computer Repair Melbourne site hopefully enables more people to find and use the services of Online Connections.

The Computer Repair Melbourne site has been set up to hopefully enable locals to more easily find Online Connections and use their computer support services. The internet is really quite a hard gig and it takes a lot of time, effort and even money to make sure your business is found on the internet.

The problem with the internet is often you're competing with businesses outside of your area with deeper pockets for advertising and that often means you lose when it comes to locals finding your business.

JustLocal was designed to help local businesses grow by making sure bigger businesses outside an area can simply use large advertising budgets to out compete local businesses. Only businesses in an area can advertise on a postcode page on JustLocal and as you can see with the design, all advertising spaces are the same size. Yes one business can purchase multiple advertising spaces, but even then the number is limited. The JustLocal design makes for a more even and fairer level playing field for local businesses.

The Computer Repair Melbourne site provides another site by which locals can find Online Connections. We wish this weren't needed, but until more businesses use JustLocal to promote their business, the size of advertising budgets will continue to matter.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Telstra significantly drops the price of prepaid mobile broadband data plans now called data passes.

Over the years I've watched Telstra as they've increased the cost of their prepaid mobile broadband data plans. Whilst there are a number of plans, the on I've felt is often the most useful for clients is the plan which provides and allowance of gigabytes which last for a year. That way if the person uses well under one month the data isn't lost.

When I fist purchased the 365 day prepaid data package the first time it was 10GB for $150. If it was purchased with an Apple iPad 2 (yes some time ago) you received 12GB. However let's stick with the 10GB. Telstra then increased the plan to 12GB for $180 and then increased this to 12GB for $200. Things were not looking good.

I was at the Apple store today and the Apple employee said Telstra had changed their plans so they were worth reviewing. I have to admit I'm very pleasantly surprised with the new plans which can be seen at The new plans are called prepaid mobile broadband data passes.

Telstra now have an even better offer of $50 for 5GB which lasts for 365 days. That's significantly less than the $150 for 10GB paid years ago. It's also a relatively low entry price. Yes there's a two year plan, but that's $140 and only marginally cheaper per gigabyte. Of course the plan you pick should always be based on your needs. I however don't like to tie up too much money for too long.

I have a number of old Telstra Wi-Fi hotspot devices sitting in drawers so they may end up coming in handy. The cost of a SIM card to get going is just $2.

Overall a very pleasant surprise from Telstra.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Alert: Hacked WordPress site - PayPal, Your account has been limited.

I regularly receive phishing emails, as I'm sure most people do. This time however I thought I'd point out that often I find the link in a phishing email has an address to a WordPress site.

Now my usual advice of course is you should treat all emails like this as suspicious and not click on a link. Opening your browser and going to the site is much safer. I also regularly recommend that you should simply delete these emails.

However this time I wanted to share something else which is very common. If you check the address I've shown, you'll see it is a WordPress site. I read a while ago there's over 30 million hacked WordPress sites and this is an example of one of those hacked sites and how the scammers are using the site.

Make sure you keep your WordPress site, add-ins and the theme all updated, to reduce the chances of being hacked. Of course there's other ways a site can get hacked but at least you know you've done the best you can. Also make sure you regularly backup your site and test that you can recover using the backup. Many hosting services leave the responsibility of performing backups on the site owner so don't just assumed everything will be right.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Alert: Can't connect to some websites. Telstra users.

A number of people have reported that they can connect to some websites but not others websites. The feedback is this appears to be a Telstra DNS issue.

One person said Telstra tried to upsell them to the technical support package. Watch out for the upsell.

To see if the problem is a DNS server issue you can set your DNS server to use Google's public DNS service. First make a note of the current settings before applying the Google settings. If that fixes the issue then it is easier to contact Telstra and let them know what the problem is and then have them walk you through the required changes to use their service.

A good way to see that the problem isn't with your computer, is to connect your computer to your mobile phone and use the mobile phone to access the internet. Make sure the mobile phone isn't using your broadband connection via Wi-Fi. So if your mobile phone and your desktop/notebook can access the sites via the mobile, then it's an indication the problem isn't with your computer.

There's a range of reason why a computer may not connect, but where possible I suggest that people try their free support options first. They are after all paying for them through their bill. However if you're not getting satisfaction, more than happy to assist. After all it is how I make a living.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Free online privacy policy generator.

For those interested in a privacy policy for their website I recently read about this work developed by researchers at RMIT.

I ran through the policy generator, and whilst there are some things I need to change before I can use the resulting document, it does appear to help generate an appropriate privacy policy. If you have questions you may feel it wise to seek the advice from a suitable professional adviser.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping small business owners.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Facebook group image vanishes, person vanishes from group and others see "This message has been temporarily removed...".

I saw the message "This message has been temporarily removed until we can verify the sender's account" when I went to write to the administrator of a Facebook group. It was not possible to message the person or to view any previous messages because they all had the same message.

Also what then happened was the image for the Facebook group disappeared which started to perplex many people.

As it turns out the explanation appears to be quite simple. A few days prior the person had posted a photo in Facebook and Facebook had asked them to log in via the desktop or provide a phone number to verify the account. It looks like this may not have been done. Facebook a few days later then decide to temporarily "suspend" the account. This meant that a lot of things associated with the account and seen by many others also vanished. I suspect when the person verified their account everything returned to normal.

So next time Facebook ask you to verify your account, you should take them seriously.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

TPG ADSL2+ broadband can't access Facebook and yet their mobile service can?

I thought I'd share this rather unusual observation. This morning I went to connect to Facebook using the TPG ADSL2+ service and all I get is the following.

If I use the mobile phone an connect via Wi-Fi to the ADSL2+ service I'm also not able to connect to Facebook. However if I switch to connecting using the 3G mobile service I can connect to Facebook.

I'm having no problems connecting to any other service that I've so far tried, just Facebook.

Since I'd not seen this before and it appears to only be related to TPG's ADSL2+ service I thought I'd mention it. This isn't something I'd seen before.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Tesla Powerwall is one huge battery, but one has to wonder if it's worth it.

I must admit when I see technology like the Tesla Powerwall it grabbed my attention as I'm sure it did others. A battery that could power a home, I'd like to see that.

However as I start checking the information I start to think perhaps this isn't the big advancement in battery technology I was hoping for. But before I explain, check out the size of the batter compared to the car. It's huge measuring 130 cm x 86 cm x 18 cm.

First let's look at price. The 10 kWh battery is $3,500 USD so if we factor in exchange rate, plus GST plus we generally pay more in Australia, I suspect it isn't going to be far short of $6,000, if it does reach Australia.

The Powerwall is guaranteed for 10 years but that does make me think, it's a lithium battery and lithium batteries have a certain number of recharge cycles. We all have notebooks with lithium batteries that reached end of life. This article may be useful in helping to estimate the expected life of the battery based on the depth of discharge.

To make use of the battery you'll also need an inverter and the services of an electrician, both of which will add to the cost.

The bottom line however is make sure you work out if the payback is there for your particular application. It may be, perhaps don't assume it will be.

For me the best approach has been to reduce our energy usage. We now use around 5 kWh per day which is around $500 per year of electricity usage charges. We can't avoid the additional cost of the daily service to the home and I'd be fairly sure the Powerwall wouldn't remove this need for most people. I'd have to save this amount and more for the Powerwall to pay for itself, so for me it's most likely not a good buy. However, as I said, each person needs to work out the payback for their particular situation.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, May 04, 2015

50/50 is iTunes movie of the week for 99 cents.

When I received the email from Apple iTunes letting me know I've spent 99 cents for a movie, there's one thing I always notice. It is the link to do a review.

I often wonder why people spend so much time creating content and simply giving it away for companies like Apple to make money from their efforts. They really do have enough money already. Why not write a review and post it on your own site or your own blog. Use it to build your presence. You never know, one day that presence might end up making your money.

For those interested in a review, we picked 50/50 because we had a choice of two movies and 50/50 looked like it might be funny. Now of course we knew the underlying storyline as we'd watched the review. It never really struck us it was also about the young man's journey with cancer.

I actually found the subject matter was handled very well. The movie was quite humorous in parts and quite moving at times.

Overall I found the movie enjoyable to watch and well worth the 99 cents. I however doubt if I would have selected the movie at full price.

So next time you do a review, use your energy to help yourself. You may be actually quite surprised at who else ends up enjoying what you write.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping local business.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Dropbox notifying Australian users their services will now be provided from Ireland.

I received an email from Dropbox today. I don't use Dropbox, but have set it up for testing purposes in case clients use Dropbox. Here's a copy of the email.

When I first read this I thought perhaps Dropbox may be moving services out of America and into an area such as a the European community, where the United States don't have as easy access to the data. The European community sometimes appears to have better privacy regulations in place.

However if you read this from the Dropbox site you can only feel this move is more to reduce taxes than for other reasons.

Tax minimisation for business is a legitimate strategy. Good business requires keeping costs contained and reducing costs improves the bottom line. However we all have an obligation to pay taxes. Eventually governments will find a way to remove this very cost effective method by which companies transfer tax obligations from one country to another. Some companies prefer to move the taxes back to their own countries and pay tax there rather than the country where the income is earned and that's been going on for years.

Really if a service is purchased in a country, is delivered in the country and resourced from the country, it makes sense the tax that would normally occur should occur. In the end if it doesn't, the only one at fault is the government for having rules in place which enables the tax minimisation to occur.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping local business.