Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blogger stats can be woefully inaccurate.

There are times that I live in my stats pages but when it comes to Blogger I really do feel like I'm fooling myself.

This blog according to the stats page gets a lot pages views and thus traffic. At one time this pleased me seeing the numbers increase, but now the numbers simply have very little meaning. The page views shown by Blogger stats for this blog are about 30 times the actual number of real page views by real visitors. Yes that's a staggering 30 times the page views by real people.

I have three other ways to measure the traffic to this blog and the other methods largely correspond.

Why the huge difference?

From what I've read the difference is the way in which Blogger records what is a page view. Blogger records not just real people viewing pages, but also records the automated processes (bots) as views. As the blog becomes more popular the more it appears to get scanned by bots and thus the more the stats have little to no meaning.

Are all Blogger blogs' statistics as bad?

Some aren't as quite as bad as 30 times, but another one we have is about 8 and another around 2. What is interesting is the one with page views being around twice that shown by Google Analytics, is quite specific to Australia. There may be some correlation between geographically specific content versus content not tied to a location. In all cases however the Blogger stats can be quite misleading.

How do you fix this problem?

If you want meaningful stats from a Blogger blog, the easiest way is to add Google Analytics to your blog's template.

Now you might not be as happy with the page views you're actually getting, but isn't better in the end to base your decisions on real information.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, November 28, 2016

Video providing an overview of the Speed Camera Locations web app.

I regularly use the Speed Camera Locations web app to alert me of speed cameras whilst I'm driving along. Knowing where the speed camera locations are is certainly good to know.

I've just uploaded a short video giving an overview of the Speed Camera Locations web app and the Alert function. (https://youtu.be/lEQF2iABuqg)

Hopefully it the web app will help others adjust their driving to avoid a speed /red camera fine.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dodo electricity and gas price increases.

I received an email yesterday advising of Dodo increasing their electricity and gas prices. As prices increases our bills go up which isn't a good thing, but it also opens up the possibility that other energy sources may be worth investigating.

The first thing I do is to update the default electricity rate on Energy Cost Calculator which helps me determine the cost of appliances and the payback of using a lower cost appliance. As an example I worked out once the energy saving for replacing and old TV and set-top box with a new more energy efficient TV was equivalent to getting a 30% discount on the TV over a couple of years. Who doesn't want that type of discount. The Energy Cost Calculator shows how much it costs to run an appliance, but also shows the payback period should you wish to replace an old appliance with a newer more energy efficient appliance. If the payback period doesn't interest you I created a simpler version of the calculator which is available at Electricity Cost Calculator.

The second thing is it's good to know how much the increase is in terms of a percentage. Here's how the figures pan out. The below figures do not take into account Dodo's pay on time 30% and 20% usage discounts.

Electricity (All prices includes GST)

Daily supply charge cents per day
Old - 91.190
New - 105.435
% increase - 15.6%

Anytime usage cents per kWh
Old - 26.169
New - 28.545
% increase - 9%

We can see from the above the daily supply charge has the biggest increase. Unfortunately you can't reduce this by changing your electricity usage. The only way to change this is to see if you can find a lowest cost supplier.

Overall the increases are quite steep and far exceed inflation.

Gas (All prices include GST)

Daily Supply Charge cents per day
Old - 60.489
New - 67.749
% increase - 12%

Old Peak Usage Rates
Usage - First 98.63 MJ per day - 2.167
Usage - Next 49.32 MJ per day - 1.639
Usage - Balance MJ per day - 1.309

New Peak Usage Rates
Usage - First 98.63 MJ per day - 2.431
Usage - Next 49.32 MJ per day - 1.837
Usage - Balance MJ per day - 1.463
% increase - 12.18%, 12.08%, 11.76% respectively

Old Off Peak Usage Rates
Usage - First 98.63 MJ per day - 2.057
Usage - Next 49.32 MJ per day - 1.562
Usage - Balance MJ per day - 1.309

New Off Peak Usage Rates
Usage - First 98.63 MJ per day - 2.299
Usage - Next 49.32 MJ per day - 1.749
Usage - Balance MJ per day - 1.463
% increase - 11.76%, 11.97%, 11.76% respectively

When these prices take effect on the 7th of December gas prices will increase by around 12% for both supply and usage. Again this far exceeds inflation.

Generally we are quite conservative users of energy, but these increases will still add around $200 a year to our energy costs. As usual I'll review the energy offers of other companies and look at ways of further reducing our energy use. Saving money is one benefit as is the feeling we lower our impact on the environment.

Kelvin Eldridge
Energy Cost Calculator
Electricity Cost Calculator

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

New Inches to cm web app now available. Includes links to BMI formula and BMI/BRM calculator.

Both the BMI formula and BMI/BMR Calculator use metres and centimetres respectively for the calculation. Often us in the older generation still use the height we grew to which is in feet and inches.

I decided to write a simple Inches to cm calculator so that people can enter their height in feet and inches and then click on a link which takes them to the BMI formula or BMI/BMR Calculator web apps. That way the conversion is done for them.

I hope others find this new calculator useful.

Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sally Field's death Facebook hoax.

I was just asked if Sally Field had passed away, as a person had the news item come up at the right hand side of their Facebook session.

A quick check reveals that Sally Field is alive and well. There appears to currently be a number of celebrity death hoaxes circulating in Facebook. It should be noted that this is the section Facebook controls and was not being spread by a Facebook user. It appeared in the sponsored section at the right hand side.

Fake news on Facebook is certainly a concern. If you see news on Facebook, perhaps it's best first to check by performing a few searches using your favourite search engine before spreading hoaxes.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, November 18, 2016

Adsense stuck on terms and conditions contract form.

Today I tried to sign into Adsense and was greeted with the terms and conditions form. I agreed and clicked the button to continue to account, but all that happens is the form shows again.

I noticed a few others having the same problem so hopefully for those using Adsense having the same problem, the problem will right itself.

One person stated they were using the following to check their account (https://www.google.com/adsense/m/?unsupported=true) so hopefully the link might assist others.

Kelvin Eldridge

Update: 3:04 pm, Saturday 19 November
This problem now appears to have been fixed. You can now complete the form and continue on to adsense.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator now available.

I often can't believe how big a cost stamp duty is for those purchasing a home in Victoria. The stamp duty on a home around the $750,000 mark is close to same amount I paid for my first home. How things change over time.

I decided to write a Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator for those looking at property. I'm also including links to concessions. I find it quite difficult to find the information on the State Government's site. Yes there are calculators, but I like to know the formulas the calculators are based on. The links on the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator hopefully provide that information for others who may also be interested in how the calculation is done.

You can find the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator at www.VictorianStampDutyCalculator.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Petrol Prices Melbourne and Nearest Petrol Station web apps now uses SSL.

For some time I've put off migrating some of my web apps to use SSL. In other words you access the website using https rather than http.

Not all websites need to use https, but some sites need to, such as e-commerce sites taking payments, but others need to because the browser makers limit certain functionality and sites stop working. As an example sites which use location facilities won't work in browsers such as Chrome and Safari on the desktop//notebook, and also some mobile browsers. Whilst users can use other browsers, users don't know in advance there's a problem and more than likely, they'll simply leave the site thinking it doesn't work.

The Petrol Prices Melbourne site (https://www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au) and the Nearest Petrol Station site (https://www.NearestPetrolStation.com.au) have now been converted to use SSL. Whilst there was a bit of work involved, it really is rewarding seeing the web apps simply work as they should. No more fudging around with different browsers. Just use the browser you prefer and the web apps work as they should.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, November 07, 2016

Australian GST Calculator illustrates the importance of correct rounding in systems handling GST.

Over the years I've noticed in systems handling GST, rounding can be an issue. I've created a short video which illustrates the problem of rounding.

As an example, if you take the price of $1.04, this breaks down to the GST amount of 9 cents and the amount without GST is 95 cents. However if we add GST to the price of 95 cents, we don't end up with $1.04, we end up with $1.05. The reason for this is when we calculate GST based on 95 cents, we get a GST amount of 9.5 cents. Since we can't have half cents, we need to round the cents up to 10 cents. This gives us a GST inclusive price of $1.05.

This example illustrates that not all prices directly calculate to be the same in both directions. That is, adding GST to a price and determining the GST of a GST inclusive price do not all end up with the same amounts.

Next time when you're entering a purchase into your system and the cents don't quite match up, at least now you'll know why.

To help those that need to work with GST I've created a couple of calculators to assist. The first is a calculator which enables you to determine the GST amount from a price that includes GST. This calculator is located at www.AustralianGSTCalculator.com.au. The second calculator enables you to add GST to a price which does not include GST, to give you the GST inclusive price. This calculator can be found at www.AustralianGSTCalculator.com.au/add-gst.php.

I hope you find the calculators useful.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, November 04, 2016

Apple macOS geolocation in Safari stops working on many websites.

Since upgrading to the latest version of the macOS on my MacBook Air, I noticed a number of my sites which use location facilities stopped working in the Safari browser. This had been true of Google's Chrome, but not Safari.

The reason is there appears separate from the HTML5 standard, which provides location facilities for browser sites, for a push by some browser manufacturers to only provide geolocation facilities if the site being accessed is a secure site, that is running SSL. 

In a way this is probably good, but as a developer it means there's an additional cost for each site such that many of the sites I now provide as a service for others, become financially unviable.

The other issue is there are many thousands upon thousands of sites that use geolocation features and these will not work and the average person won't know why. Up until now to protect people's security the standard as I read them, meant people had to be prompted if they wished to share their location with a web site. This is now being further restricted by the browser. The problem is this browser restriction is a waste of time for products like the MacBook Air since the only location information is the IP address to estimate location and that is still available. The change effectively achieves nothing, but reduces the functionality of web based applications. For mobile devices which show close to the exact location, this is a different matter.

For those wishing to use websites on a MacBook Air, there's a couple of choices. If you're lucky enough to have Windows 10 also installed, you can use Internet Explorer or the Edge browser. Simply turn on the location option to use your IP address to estimate your location in Windows 10. The other option is to install Firefox. Normally I'd not recommend or suggest Firefox, but in this case it does solve a problem and that means it's a viable option.

It would be good if the developers of the desktop browsers provide the option to enable the user to decide if they wanted to use location services with sites that don't use SSL, (people are still promoted before they share their location) but unfortunately this trend to decide everything for us restricts our options and the usefulness of our computers. Windows 10 combined with Internet Explorer or the Edge browser do work in the way I'd prefer as does Firefox. Google Chrome and now more recently Apple Safari under macOS do not.

Kelvin Eldridge