Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fake news on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

It really isn't good enough when the Bureau of Meteorology is promoting fake news on their website. It really makes no sense for the Bureau of Meteorology to put itself in this position to damage its reputation.

If the Bureau of Meteorology wants to put ads on their site why don't they just advertise government related news and cut out the middleman. That would saving millions of dollars and keep the money in the government's hands. Then there's no chance of fake news, OK, that probably depends on what you consider to be fake news, but to me it's ads like the one in the image above saying "MYER CLOSING NATIONWIDE".

This is a reminder that even sites we consider to be highly reputable now need to be treated with caution like every other website that takes advertising from sources they have no control over.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Gallon to Liter calculator now live.

My international Gallon to Liter calculator is now available online at

For those of you who have been following my Australian Dictionary work, you will probably shake your head with my spelling of the word litre. Yes, for the Gallon to Liter calculator I've used the American spelling Liter.

One of the questions writers often ask is which version of English should they use for their material. This time I needed to ask myself the same question. In this case I wrote the Gallon To Liter calculator  for the international market, but primarily the US market. The domain name .com was selected so the site isn't associated with Australia. The variety of English I used for the site was also American.

So whilst the spelling of litre isn't correct for Australia, it is correct for the market the Gallon to Liter calculator is targeted to.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Can you pick the different coloured green square?

I read an interesting article when I was researching the word 'colour'.

Can you pick the different coloured green square?

Whilst there are small colour variations with most of the squares, one square is a different colour of green.

For those interested in the answer and the article you can find it at

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, November 17, 2017

Petrol prices in Melbourne starting to rise today to 149.9.

Today I noticed a number of Woolworths Petrol stations have raised their prices to 149.9. This is perhaps the highest price for a long time for unleaded petrol. That means it's time again to watch the prices and start filling up. For those using the 7 Eleven fuel app wait and watch the prices and then lock in the lowest price you can find for the next week.

For those wondering how come the price is so high, it is because the average gate price of petrol has increased above the 120 mark. When prices are restored to the peak the peak price is usually 25-30 cents above the average gate price. There also appears to be a pattern of prices a tenth of a cent below a multiple of five cents eg. 139.9, 144.9, 149.9, etc. With the average gate price at 123.1 today, it makes sense the price would go up to 149.9.

The lowest prices around Melbourne today appear to be in the Springvale/Broadmeadows area if you're lucky enough to be passing through those areas.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Alert - Please verify your business identity to have your account limitation lifted email

I received an email today possibly from PayPal, possibly from a scammer with the subject "Kelvin Eldridge, important information regarding your PayPal account".

Notice how the email subject contains my name, but in addition this email was sent to the correct address which I have set up for PayPal and not used elsewhere. That's unusual for scammers to do. They often don't include the name as they don't know it.

The main message in the body of the email is "Please verify your business identity to have your account limitation lifted email".

Now I think this is a very good scam that could trick people. The reason isn't so much because of the email itself, but because of my recent experience with PayPal.

Back in August I received an email from PayPal asking for information to verify my business identity. This was a legitimate request. As the following paragraph shows this was required by the Australian government.

As part of PayPal's Compliance Program, we request that organisations provide certain information. The verification process is a requirement of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) laws in Australia, in accordance with which every financial institution in Australia, including PayPal Pty Limited, has to comply. Please review the following link for more information regarding the AML laws for Business Accounts:

From August to October I had nothing but trouble trying to complete their request and PayPal's system kept requesting information even though they had everything. I'd received an email on 12 September 2017 stating my account had been returned to normal but continued to received pop-ups on the PayPal site stating it hadn't. A call to PayPal on 17 October 2017 confirmed they had what they needed and the account was back to normal. However I still got notices pop up when using the PayPal system.

Now when you get months of issues with PayPal this leaves the door right open for scammers. They know people have these issues and it will be easy to trick people to click on a link in a scam email. You have after all probably tried everything else.

There's only a single link in the email which gives a hint the email may be a scam. It uses the address which doesn't look right. It may be a PayPal subcontractor but there's no way to know. The domain has been registered since 2011. If this were a scammer surely PayPal would have closed them down by now. So there really isn't anything to warn people this may be a scam.

Really frustrating experience with PayPal over months and emails that are potentially very good scams. That's a recipe that could easily trick people. Certainly I thought these were simply PayPal's systems still screwing up and I know what to look for.

I decided to forward the email to PayPal. Again not easy to find out where to send it making things easy for scammers as people tend to be lazy. I received a reply quite quickly but it didn't answer my question as to whether or not the domain name was PayPal's or someone they used. It was one of those typical canned responses where they include a lot of previously prepared information, but nothing to answer your question. Pretty slack and not good service. But they did provide the address to forward the suspect email.

A quick canned response came back regarding the phishing submission. It's not clear whether or not they'll respond with useful information. Again this really feels like a waste of time with PayPal. If you submit information regarding a phishing attempt I believe you should at least get a response back letting you know the outcome.

You would think if people who use the PayPal service make the effort to report a potential scam, PayPal would have a mechanism to enable you to know whether or not it was a scam. In addition the domain has been used on the 17 Oct 2017 and now on the 14 Nov 2017. Surely you'd think PayPal would take action on domains using their business name it they are not their domain.

Given the first email was received on the 17th of October 2017, around the time I was having trouble of the exact same nature with PayPal, this is an excellent timely scan that could easily trick people.

If you receive emails which appear to be from PayPal NEVER click on a link. Go to your account and see if you have any notifications. PayPal do include links in their legitimate emails, but so do scammers.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

UPDATE: 22 November 2017
There has been no further update from from PayPal to answer my question. Unfortunately this is what I expected would happen. With these extremely large companies I think most of us will feel we're largely on our own.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Melbounre Cup 2017 results - finish order.

I'm not really into horse racing, but at this time of the year many people find themselves wondering where their horse finished in the Melbourne Cup. This information often flashes across the TV screen and is then quite hard to find. Here is the list of horses and the place they finished in this year's Melbourne Cup.

1. Rekindling
2. Johanne's Vermeer
3. Max Dynamite
4. Big Duke
5. Nakeeta
6. Thomas Hobson
7. Tiberian
8. Libran
9 Marmelo
10. Wicklow Brave
11. Red Cardinal
12. Almandin
13. Cismontane
14. Amelie's Star
15. Boom Time
16. Wall Of Fire
17. Single Gaze
18. US Army Ranger
19. Humidor
20. Hartnell
21. Ventura Storm
22. Bondi Beach
23. Gallante

I hope others find this list useful.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, November 03, 2017

How to make 20% more interest on your savings.

Recently I asked my bank, the Bank of Queensland, to close off a term deposit early. I also asked them to reconsider the hefty 50% interest penalty, as that way they'd keep the reasonably sized term deposit. Naturally they weren't able to do anything. I find most banks can't really do anything so you need to work out their offers and decide what is best for you.

As a result of the Bank of Queensland's inability to look after their client, I started to get serious about looking around. It really made no sense the Bank of Queensland didn't consider my request as what they gained in the penalty is little compared to what they make. Losing the money meant they'd make nothing. In fact it ended up nearly all of the money parked in the Bank of Queensland could produce better returns elsewhere and that is what happened.

So how do you make 20% more interest on your savings?

You shop around.

Bank of Queensland is offering 2.45% for term deposits for 6 months. Other banks offer around 2.2%. These are term deposit accounts where you can't access your money without penalty until the end of the term.

I've found two online bank accounts which offer access to your money. One offering 2.95% and another offering 2.87%. Bank of Melbourne did offer an introductory honeymoon rate of 3% on a savings account, but that's since dropped to 2.8%. Some of the banks have special conditions (such as deposits each month or using their debit card) but usually it's fairly easy to meet their conditions. The best part is your money is accessible to you at any time and not tied up like term deposits.

Whilst interest rates on savings are pretty terrible at the moment, if you have savings, it really is worth shopping around. An extra 20% in interest is there for the taking and the money is better in your pocket.

A tool I wrote to help me determine whether it was worth shopping around is my Compare Term Deposit Rates calculator which can be found at The calculator enabled me to enter an amount, term and two rates. By entering two rates I could quickly see the difference the interest rates made. Sometimes when looking at short periods (under a month) it made little difference, but when looking at 3-12 months, the benefit could be quite good and worth the effort. Having an easy to use calculator certainly made it easier for me to make comparisons and then make informed decision on what to do next.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Swan Hill petrol prices observation. Quite a spread on prices.

Last week we spent some time up in Swan Hill. A nice relaxing country town with better weather than Melbourne at this time of the year.

As we drove into town the price of unleaded petrol at BP was 139.9 and the price stayed at 139.9 for the four days we were there. Both the BP and Woolworths Petrol were 139.9 and both are the petrol stations you'd see as you arrive into town.

What was interesting was the price of petrol on the opposite end of town away from Melbourne was initially 129.9 at Shell and Caltex. The price increased around two days later to 132.9 at both Caltex and Shell. That's a saving of between 7-10 cents per litre between the north and south of town.

Quite a few of the country towns we drove through going to, and coming from Swan Hill had prices of 129.9.

Checking the price today, Woolworths Petrol price for unleaded petrol is currently 132.9.

Often when driving in the country and our petrol is getting down, we're very tempted to fill up at the first petrol station we get to. This is a reminder that sometimes it may be worth checking the prices before filling up. You can use the Woolworths Fuel app to check Woolworths petrol prices. Unfortunately, whilst there's other apps you can use, often they aren't accurate. If you do use them be prepared for the worst. That is the price isn't correct. The 7 Eleven Fuel app is also quite accurate, but doesn't really apply in country regions, where there's no 7 Eleven petrol stations.

Kelvin Eldridge