Thursday, April 27, 2017

Clive Palmer - the incredible shrinking man.

I must admit I was quite surprised recently to read about Clive Palmer's considerable weight loss. It's interesting how I tend to question things. The weight loss of 56 kg in 7 months according to the tweet on April 2nd, just didn't seem credible mathematically. Perhaps Clive had had lap-band surgery.

A quick check and no, there's no lap-band surgery involved. Simply pure determination. Clive is to be congratulated on what really is a significant personal achievement.

The reason it didn't quite make sense to me is the 7 months. Reviewing the information available it appears to be more like 11-12 months. The following post from Facebook in December indicates 49 kg lost since April. With April 2016 to April 2017 being 12 months. 

Not wishing to diminish Clive's achievement, which is significant, for others wishing to lose weight, setting unreasonable expectations can lead to becoming disillusioned. The question becomes, "If Clive can do it in 7 months, why can't I?", when it's actually more like 12 months. Realistic expectations are important when trying to lose weight.

I decided to document Clive's weight loss journey through his Facebook posts and Tweets. Clive appears to have started dieting somewhere around April to May 2016. Clive is 182 cm tall and started his weight-loss journey at 153 kg. Clive is 62. Using the BMI/BMR calculator I wrote, Clive's BMI was 46, which is Obese Class III. 

April/May 2016 - 153 kg (Facebook)
30 September 2016 - 133 kg, loss 20 kg (Twitter - since leaving parliament)
1 October 2016 - 133 kg, loss 20 kg (Facebook)
4 October 2016 - 132 kg, loss 21 kg (Twitter)
5 October 2016 - 132 kg, loss 21 kg (Facebook)
10 November 2016 - 111 kg, loss 40 kg (Twitter - should be either 113 kg or 42 kg loss)
13 November 2016 - 111 kg, loss 42 kg (Facebook)
13 November 2016 - 111 kg, loss 42 kg (Twitter)
11 December 2016 - 104 kg, loss 49 kg (Twitter)
12 December 2016 - 104 kg, loss 49 kg (Facebook)
23 February 2017 - 106 kg, loss 47 kg (Twitter)
24 February 2017 - 106 kg, loss 47 kg (Facebook)
28 February 2017 - 105 kg, loss 48 kg (Twitter)
1 March 2017 - 105 kg, loss 48 kg (Facebook)
1 April 2017 - 97 kg, loss 56 kg (Facebook)
2 April 2017 - 97 kg, loss 56 kg (Twitter)
25 April 2017 - 95 kg, loss 58 kg ( site)

You'll notice the Christmas period probably slowed things down a bit for Clive, which is to be expected.

The following is a picture of Clive now on Anzac day. Credit for the picture is

Well done Clive.

Clive now has a BMI of 29, which means now classed as overweight, which might not sound good, but by all accounts a much healthier weight.

There's two aspects which I'd like to add. Clive has used Lite n' Easy to assist him on his journey,  If he's used Lite n' Easy for the 12 months, that's probably around $7,000-$8000. A significant amount of money for most of us. Whilst it is more work, if you weigh your meals, record the kilojoules each day, and make sure you eat at the right dieting energy intake (which is provided in the BMI/BMR calculator) it need not cost you a cent. The most important ingredient for weight loss is your determination. If your mind is in the right place, your body will follow.

The second aspect, as we've seen with shows like the Biggest Loser, is the problem of excess skin. Rapid weight loss is impressive, and whilst I have no facts to back my feeling, I can't help feeling if you adopt a slightly slower pace to your weight loss, the greater the time the body has to adjust the skin, probably the better.

Overall however Clive is an inspiration. Keeping the weight off and in check is very hard for most of us. Stories like Clive's does inspire us to continue to make the effort a lot of us need to make.

Thank you for sharing Clive.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, April 24, 2017

New First Home Buyers stamp duty examples added to Stamp Duty Calculator

I've been keeping my eye out for the new formula for the stamp duty for first home buyers announced by the Victorian Government. Unfortunately at this stage the formula doesn't seem to be available. However, I have found examples of the new rates so for those interested, I've added a table showing some examples of the new duty rates to the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator I've written.

There's few ways to look at the Victoria Government's stamp duty changes for first home buyers. The first negative effect is the potential to push prices higher which isn't good for many people. Currently first home owners get a 50% stamp duty discount for properties under $600,000, which is a saving of around $16,000. That means first home buyers have potentially up to $16,000 more to spend on a property.

The largest savings are when properties are just over the $600,000 meaning first home buyers could potentially save over $30,000 in stamp duty. The saving reduces as the price goes up until the saving stops at $750,000. Now first home buyers at least have a little more in their favour in the $600,000 plus range when competing against, investors. It's hard to say how much that will help as investors still get negative gearing and capital gains tax benefits which can be considerable.

Hopefully some first home buyers will benefit from the change. Facing paying off a $500,000-$600,000 mortgage is a very large task requiring quite a bit of determination.

You can find the table of example stamp duty rates at

Kelvin Eldridge
Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator

Friday, April 21, 2017

Extending the 7 Eleven app petrol discount voucher expiry date.

Two days ago I let everyone know the petrol prices in Melbourne started to go up to 139.9. If you check the map today on, you'll see around 40% of the petrol stations I've record, have now increased their prices.

When petrol prices start to go up it's a good time to fill up and take advantage of the discount voucher. The next thing I do is lock in the lowest price for another week using the 7 Eleven app. The problem with the 7 Eleven app is I tend to jump the gun. I lock the price in once the prices start going up. However, if I wait one or two days I can push the 7 day time limit out a couple of days.

Today I decided to do a test with the 7 Eleven voucher and see what would happen. I'd lock in 116.7 two days ago. I knew of another 7 Eleven with petrol for 115.9. What if I filled up my tank now and then locked in the lower price. That would enable me to extend the discount period by two days.

I topped up the car with around 10 litres at a 7 Eleven with a price of 139.9. I got the discount for the locked in price of 116.7. It took perhaps around 5-10 minutes before the 7 Eleven app registered the voucher had been used. I had to display the voucher again and at this point the 7 Eleven app was ready to lock in the new lower price. I then locked in the new price of 115.9. That saves me a little more money and extends the voucher expiry date.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Stop autoplay of ads in Apple's macOS Safari.

As an IT person what frustrates me about the companies developing browsers, is they often put the user last, and it appears, big business first.

In the good old days when using a browser to view sites on the internet, if I didn't want to see images displayed, I could simply turn the option off. Then we started to get ads delivered using Flash and more recently, ads delivered as a standard part of HTML5, the code behind for today's websites.

Flash is no longer much of a problem as sites are moving to HTML5. However, the problem with HTML5 is the developers of the browsers have not built in a simple switch to stop the downloading and/or playing of videos or video ads. You're in the middle of your work and in the background a video starts playing. If you're out and about and you've connected your computer to a mobile hotspot, that's expensive data being drained from your mobile account. A great way to exceed your allowance and end up costing excess data.

The user is no longer in control of their internet experience.

All is not lost. At least on your notebook computers you can hack your computer, in a nice way, and stop the automatic playing of videos. Whilst it doesn't stop all the data usage, it does give you control over when the videos are played.

To disable the automatic playing of videos in Safari on Apple computers, you need to first enable the Debug option in Safari and then you get to see an option to disable the video.

The hack is you need to run this command using the Terminal program. Copy and paste the following command into Terminal and press Enter.

defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

The Debug menu option now appears in the Safari menus. If you ever want to hide the Debug menu option, just issue the command again with the 1 at the end changed to a 0.

Now you have the Debug menu option, you can disable the autoplaying of videos.

Select Debug -> Media Flags -> Video Needs User Action

From now on when you open a page the video is there, but for it to play, you need to click on the play option. Sometimes you need to click on the video first and then click on the play option. This includes when you visit YouTube.

You can alternately select Disallow Inline Video, but I feel the option above gives me what I prefer.

At last a way to stop those annoying autoplaying videos. Peace and quiet at last.

Kelvin Eldridge
Help with your IT problems.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Sunbeam Dreamland electric blanket causes tinkling on the hand and arm.

Recently we purchased a Sunbeam Dreamland electric blanket from Target. We decided to go for a brand name rather than the no brand blankets, as the brand gives a degree of confidence. The Sunbeam electric blanket also had a timer, which is a feature we like.

That night we were lying in bed and I touched my wife's hand. For some reason something didn't feel right. So I gently stroked my finger along her hand. There was a tingling sensation. I then gently stroked her arm with my finger and again there was a tingling sensation. This actually caused some discomfort. I asked my wife to turn her electric blanket off, since it was the only device and wiring near us. When she turned the electric blanket off and I again stroked her hand or arm with my finger, there was no sensation. Turn the electric blanket on again and perform the same test and the tingling sensation was there again.

Somehow the electric blanket was inducing a current between us when the blanket is on, with my side of the electric blanket off.

I've never seen this happen before with any of the electric blankets we've owned over the years. I decided this wasn't right. I don't feel it's safe to have a device that is inducing a current into your body at a level you can easily feel. No level really, but most of the time the levels are so low we wouldn't notice.

At that point it was decided to return the electric blanket. To Target's credit they took the blanket back without a problem.

From now on when we purchase a new electric blanket, the first thing I'll be doing is testing to see if there's any current being induced. I'd suggest perhaps that others may wish to check their electric blanket in the same way.

For those wishing to test their blanket only turn one side on. Then the person on the other side which isn't turned on, is to very lightly move their finger over the hand or lower arm of the person on the blanket. Repeat this with the electric blanket turned off.

I decided to check the internet and found others have also found the tingling sensation. In particular, the comment about half way down this thread by David was about their dual-zone electric blanket. Another person below that had a similar experience. There post is about a person with a laptop, but in these comments there was no computer involved.

On this page another person noted a similar experience.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, April 02, 2017

TPG ADSL service not working in Templestowe since 1st of April.

Not really sure if TPG is playing an April fools joke, but hey, shouldn't they stop at noon on 1st.

Seriously though, the TPG service has not been working since the start of Saturday the 1st of April and it's now 10:05 am. Just spent an hour on their support line only to have just been told via a recorded message, due to the number of support calls at the moment they are not able to attend the call and to call back later.

A check of their online Service Status shows no issues that would affect me. When I've had issues in the past this has always been the case so the Service Status page isn't really a help.

Used their online form to submit the issue so really all I can do is wait.

Last month an issue with mobile billing, where they started charging excess charges around 300MB before the allowance had expired. Another problem this month. Not a good recent track record for TPG.

If you're in this situation it is always a good idea to have a back up strategy to access the internet. In this case I'm using my mobile data, which of course means if I use to much then I'll hit the mobile limit, but at least you can get access to the internet if required.

Kelvin Eldridge