Monday, October 24, 2016

Australian GST Calculator web app now available.

How many times in the past did I need to perform a GST calculation? More specifically, given an amount, how much is the GST and how much is the price excluding GST.

Since this is a very common requirement in business, I decided to write the Australian GST Calculator. The Australian GST Calculator is a web app, which means it can be used from any desktop, tablet, or mobile device. No software to install. Simply visit the site if you need to use a GST calculator.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Telstra refund scam

When I receive scam emails every day I can't help wonder why the Australian ISPs can't stop people from being scammed. All it would take is for the ISP to redirect the link (or site) to a safe page letting people know it is a scam. Most people in Australia use the DNS server from their ISP, and if I'm right, an entry in the DNS could stop people going to malicious sites.

So many people get caught by scams and yet the ISPs don't seem to care.

What interested me with this cam was the email address they used to send the email to me. It is one I use, but rarely hand out. The email address doesn't contain my full name, but as you can see, the To field for the email does use my full name. That adds a level of legitimacy that could trick people. I don't have a Telstra account where Telstra can bill me, so this is an obvious scam.

When you receive emails don't just click on the links. Stop for a moment. Check the links by moving your mouse over the links and the address will appear. In many scam emails some of the links may be legitimate, but one or more you are meant to click on will send you to an unrelated address that has nothing to do with the company.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Windows 10 Anniversary update could cost people large amounts of money if using mobile devices.

The other day the power was turned off so I didn't have my usual access to the ADSL broadband. I checked my mobile data and I had 1GB of my 1.5GB plan left. No problems I thought, for the small amount of use I'd need, I'd simply use my mobile as a hotspot.

Then something weird happened. I received a data usage alert that I'd used 50% of my data from the plan. How weird I thought.

I was lucky.

I hadn't been using the MacBook Air very much. I have Windows 10 installed using Parallels. I perhaps wrote a couple of social media posts for a client and maybe a few web site updates. Very minimal amount of work, and yet I'd clocked up hundreds of megabytes. Why was this so?

On further investigation I found Windows 10 was automatically downloading the update in the background. Easy I thought, I'll simply disable the update. Not so easy. There's no longer any such feature. I'll let Windows know I'm using a mobile hotspot. Nope. As it's a virtual machine it thinks it's connected to a network and there's no option to let Windows 10 know otherwise.

Later I did some testing and using one hotspot Windows 10 was downloading at around 9MB per minute. With another hotspot Windows 10 was downloading at 32MB for minute. Depending on your plan this could be costing around $20 an hour. If you're travelling overseas, this could cost you thousands.

A client later rang up as they were concerned about a Windows 10 update. Normally they use less than 4GB a month on their mobile device, but had already used 13GB. I don't know the actual size of the download, but from what I can gather around 3.5GB for the ISO (usually burnt to DVD), but for the download and update, I don't really know. Whatever the size keep in mind when you download, there's overhead and also upload traffic occurs which can add another 15%.

The bottom line is, if you have a Windows 10 computer and haven't updated to the Windows 10 Anniversary update, think twice about using your mobile connection or hotspot. It's best to use lower cost broadband and the manually apply the update before the automatic update comes along.

If you're travelling overseas you could easily get bill shock if the automatic update hits you.

Kelvin Eldridge