Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Alert: Melbourne petrol prices starting to hike to 155.9 - 165.9

Petrol prices in Melbourne appear to be going up, however what they are going up to isn't quite clear.

In Templetstowe the 7 Eleven is 155.9, but in Clarinda the 7 Eleven is 165.9. That's a huge difference. Either way as we approach the school holidays it does appear petrol prices are on the rise.

The current gate price (think wholesale) is 124.4 cents per litre for unleaded petrol. The petrol price usually increases by 25 -30 cents per litre, so unless wholesale petrol prices are rising quickly (and there's no evidence of that), we can expect prices to rise to around 150-155. Higher and that would be the highest jump I've seen since writing these blog posts. That would certainly be a money grab by the petrol retailers.

Time to keep an eye on petrol prices as we approach the school holidays.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Cycling incident with ute near Main Ridge Mornington Peninsula leaves many questions.

Yesterday I read an article on the News.com.au which had a video of a ute overtaking a group of cyclists only to shortly after overtaking turn into a a property causing a number of cyclists to be in an accident.


I read articles like this as I like to understand an improve my driving skills and my very basic riding skills.

The article was well written and simply report the information provided. It did not make a judgement on who was in the right or wrong. The person reporting the incident, known as Clint, appears to be one of the riders. The location was not provided except that it was in the Main Ridge Mornington Peninsula area. The time of the incident was during a weekday morning ride. Whilst it is hard to read the date/time stamp looks like it is Mar 29 or May 29 at 10:35. At the news article is dated May 29 at 8:35am, this must have been in March.

The headline "Cyclists slam ute driver after accident" was written leading one to feel this was a ute driver at fault which plays into the cyclist versus cars mentality, which reinforces the us and them argument.

What is also interesting is to read the comments and whilst I admit I don't know all the road rules, so I'm like everyone else, some of the comments show people getting the road rules wrong.

Watching the video the ute driver was not considerate of other road users. Around five seconds after overtaking the riders, the ute driver turns into a property.

The first question I have is has the ute driver done anything wrong. Whilst we may not like a car overtaking us and then making us slow down immediately afterwards, I don't think that is illegal. Yes rude, but that's what people can be like.

It appears from the video the ute driver's indicator isn't on whilst overtaking, or moving back into the left lane. However, when the ute driver turns into the driveway, the indicator does appear to be on.

After overtaking a single white line divides the road. The ute driver has returned to the left lane before the single white line appears. The ute driver turns right over the single white lane into a property, which as I read, is legal.

The ute driver's driving would thus appear to be legal, although for many it may be considered rude, but that's not illegal.

There is a group of eight cyclists travelling together. The leading two cyclists have  time to slow and stop as the ute turns into the property. A voice is heard calling out wait, wait, indicating an issue.

At this point the outside cyclist in the second row loses control and falls off their bike. This causes the inside cyclist in the second row to lose control. The third row of cyclists avoid the two fallen cyclists. The rider taking the video in the fourth row who appears to move left and right in the lane indicating the fourth row may be staggered, then loses control and falls.

The rider taking the video has around three seconds warning from the wait, wait alert to when the second rider has fallen blocking their path causing them to lose control.

According to the article, "The abrupt move led to two cyclists crashing as they were forced to slam on their brakes to avoid running into the back of the vehicle." This doesn't appear to be correct. The two cyclists in front had stopped so the two that fell had to break to avoid running into the two stopped cyclists.

Clint uses word's such as deliberate which imply to me as a reader the driver deliberately meant to interfere with the riders. This may not have been the case. Yes their action was deliberate to turn into their driveway.

Clint states the car didn't have to merge back in front of them before turning into the driveway. Clint's suggestion for the ute would mean the ute would probably be breaking the law by driving on the wrong side of the road (divided by a white line) and turning incorrectly from the wrong lane.

Client states the driver was more interested in arguing, however from the gesture of the first rider's arm held up in the air and body turned toward the ute, you could only assume the driver would be entering into a heated situation.

In the comment section a person states the cyclists were riding two abreast which is illegal in Victoria. Riding two abreast is not illegal in Victoria.

When I look at this video I see two problems. A driver of a ute who is not considerate of other road users. A group of riders who are travelling too close together that would enable them to safely stop if they have to.

Until reading this article I thought there was a road rule that said if I left the road turning into private property I had to give way to other road users. I took that to mean road users behind me. I decided to read the road rules and I could not find anywhere where people who turn into private property have to consider road users behind them. Yes to pedestrians and other vehicles they have to give way to, but that's not vehicles behind them.

Was the driver's driving style illegal I don't know. We see driving like that all the time on our roads were people speed ahead just to block the traffic and turn at the next intersection.

Whilst the cyclists may not be happy, as soon as the vehicle has overtaken and is in front of them, if the vehicle puts their indicator on to turn for a sufficient period of time, the cyclists should slow down and stop if necessary.

According to Clint the riders had been travelling at 35 to 40 km/h. This speed is not insignificant. The close formation riding is a concern. The video shows the riders in front whilst inconvenienced had no problems stopping. The riders following had significant issues stopping and in three cases ran into serious issues possibly causing injury.

The problem for the riders, apart from the action of a driver, is they weren't travelling at a safe distance from each other which would enable them to stop safely if required.

Perhaps it's time for peloton style of riding to be reviewed on our roads. If riders need to train peloton style, then perhaps additional safety controls should be put into place. We may not like it, and cyclists certainly won't, but people's safety is important. None of us like giving up anything, but this happens all the time in our society, so hopefully our society works better together.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au


PS. This video has been posted on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp3d4qojvx8).



Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Alert: Petrol prices on the rise in Melbourne. Prices hiking to 167.9 cents per litre.

On Saturday night I noticed the first petrol stations increasing the price of unleaded petrol to 167.9. Before sending out an alert I like to wait until a few more petrol stations increase their prices. I've seen petrol stations jump the gun before to later drop their prices again.

It's now Monday night and more petrol stations have increased their prices to 167.9. The current gate price is 134.9, so the increase is in the expected range of 25-30 cents above the gate price.

On the weekend I was passing through the Dandenong area where prices were very good. I was able to use the 7/11 Fuel app to lock in the price of 131.7 cents per litre for unleaded petrol. The lowest prices in my area were around 137.9 so even with discounts vouchers, the 131.7 was still a better price and it meant I could fill up when my tank was lower.

Over the next few days we can expect petrol prices to head upwards as we approach the weekend. Time to keep an eye on prices and if you're using the 7/11 Fuel app, be ready to lock in at the right time.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Blood Alcohol Calculator merged into Standard Drink Calculator.

Looking for the Blood Alcohol Calculator web app but can't find it.

The Blood Alcohol Calculator has now been merged into the Standard Drink Calculator site. The menus in the Standard Drink Calculator haven't changed, as the Blood Alcohol Calculator has always been the Multiple option on the menu. The Multiple option previously linked to an external site (Blood Alcohol Calculator) whereas now that external site has been incorporated as a page on the Standard Drink Calculator.

Whilst it's always a gamble to change a site by either splitting a site out to separate sites, or to bring together similar sites into one, it is hoped that by having the multiple sites together, this makes it easier for people to find the functionality of the calculators. This is part of my approach to keep testing and tuning sites. To find what works and what doesn't work. If it works more people get the opportunity to benefit from the calculators.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.StandardDrinkCalculator.com.au

Duracell battery leaked damaging souvenir.

Over the years you build up brand loyalty and one such product are batteries. We all know and expect cheap batteries, if you don't take care, can potentially leak.

Today I read an article on The Age site where the writer shared their story of their Duracell batteries leaking. The responses from Duracell really wasn't a good look good for Duracell.

I'd also had similar experiences with Duracell batteries. Another family member recently had souvenir clock that didn't work and when I checked the clock, this is what I found.


Now I'm sure most of us have been in this situation. An old toy, a remote control, devices left sitting and forgotten for some time, only to find the battery has leaked. Yes we should have removed the batteries, but you only realise when you go to use the device and the device doesn't work. The news isn't good.

As long as the corrosion from the battery acid isn't too great, I usually clean up the terminals and then with a cotton bud use a solution of water and baking soda mixed to a paste to neutralise any remaining acid. Sometimes however, the corrosion has been so bad the terminals have rusted and break off.

At some point in the past I really felt Duracell had such a good reputation and believed their batteries didn't leak. Well the reputation with regards to batteries not leaking well and truly busted and extra care is required when using Duracell batteries.

I did a search on the internet for Energizer battery leaked to see what came up. I was quite surprised to see Energizer offers a no leak guarantee and repair of your device if damaged by leakage. However it's important to read the fine print. The Energizer batteries (excluding lithium) are  only covered for 1-2 years following the full use of the battery. I don't know about you, but if I pack an item away the batteries are not fully used and there's no way for me to know when the battery has been fully used. If I knew the battery was fully used, I'd have removed the battery and disposed them. This guarantee also probably doesn't apply to Australia.

I then searched for Energizer Australia. There's no Australian site for Energizer, but there is a site that covers Asia, which I suspect also covers Australia. In the terms and conditions for Energizer Australia Pty Limited there's no mention of a no leak guarantee. No mention of damage to your appliance.

It would appear both Duracell and Energizer really don't offer any peace of mind to consumers. What's important to accept is probably any battery can leak and damage your devices. It's important then you take appropriate precautions such as checking the use by date. Removing batteries before you put items away, or if you're not using them regularly.

It's not just devices you put away. I've found myself using a TV remote control day after day for the remote control to just stop working. Then on opening the remote control the batteries have been found to have leaked. One set of kitchen scales I was using slipped out of my hand onto the bench and stopped working. On opening the scales I found the batteries were corroded. The device only stopped working because the bump caused the good contact to be lost. I would not have expected to see leaked and corroded batteries in a device that was still working.

I already remove batteries from devices I'm not using for a while, if I remember. In future however I will also be checking to make sure the use by dates of batteries have not expired, even if the batteries are still working.

Hopefully these thoughts may help others.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Google ads appearing over site content making it impossible to use the site.

I've noticed recently Google ads appearing over sections of pages on my sites that means it's no longer possible to enter data into the fields making it impossible to use the page. This is only occurring on mobile sites to my knowledge.

If you find pages on my sites where Google ads are damaging the user experience (such that you can't enter information into the forms) please let me know and I'll temporarily remove or replace the ads.

This appears to be a recent change by Google. I've never seen this happen before and it's only started to happen recently. When the Google ads appear they should simply take up space. Instead they appear over the content of the page and that makes it impossible to see what is now under the ad. This is obviously a recent flaw in Google's programming and hopefully they'll realise and correct the issue.



The issue with Google ads affects pages with forms where the Google ad is above the form and the person is using a mobile device.

Please contact me using the details on the Contact page if you find a problem. Thank you in advance for any assistance.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Update: 14/05/2019
A quick solution to ads covering the page is to click on the X in the corner of the ad. Then click on the option to Stop Seeing This Ad. There's options then for the reason you're closing the ad and one option is the ad is covering content. Not all ads are a problem, but getting rid of the ads that cause a problem may flag a problem. If lots of people close problem ads you would hope it may get noticed. That should fix the immediate issue for a user, but of course doesn't fix the issue if people don't know this is an option.

Update: 16/05/2019
The quick solution mentioned previously is useful to clear the screen temporarily, but the ads often keep coming back, so the problem keeps occurring. For me the way I'll work around this issue, as there's no telling how long it will keep happening, is on web pages that can be used on mobiles, where there's a form that will get blocked by an ad overlaying the form, I'll remove those ads and replace them with a different ad that does not impact the form. You could also simply delete the ad, or alternately, instead of using a responsive ad use a fixed size ad instead.

Update: 20/05/2019
I found through further reading it is possible to limit the height of the response adsense ad, so today I decided to create a new size limited ad and test the result. I used the following code in the adsense code, but modified to take into account the maximum width of the web pages I have. This code was found in the Adsense help pages.

   style="display:inline-block;min-width:400px;max-width:970px;width:100%;height:90px"

Unfortunately it didn't work. Some ads had a height which was much greater then 90px. The good outcome however it looks like Google may have fixed the issue, or at least made it better. In general when I went to type into the form the larger ad was replaced with a shorter ad and the fields were not covered by the ads. On one occasion the was a huge amount of white vertical space, so Google's code is still not perfect, but appears to work most of the time.

Unless something unexpected occurs it looks like I can return to using the standard responsive code from Adsense.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Car versus bus. Which is more cost effective? The Car versus Public Transport calculator provides the answer.

Yesterday I met a friend at Eastland Shopping Centre. Before I left home I'd done a calculation comparing the cost of using a car versus the cost of using a bus. Ignoring time because frankly if you take time into account you'd probably never use a bus, and in this case the extra time taken didn't overly affect my day.

Here is my calculation for using a bus or car from Templestowe to Ringwood.

Not a huge saving at $2.88 each way, but more than enough to pay for the coffee I had. Also since it was cheaper using the bus I feel like I'll get a greater use out of my car which is a large investment, if I use it when the car is the most cost effective mode of transport.

Whilst sitting having that coffee (which in effect had already been paid for) I did the same calculation for my friend who had driven from Warranwood to Ringwood. It turned out my friend by driving had taken the most cost effective mode of transport also saving 18 cents each way, but possibly more since I'd use an estimate of 30 cents per kilometre. My friend's car uses gas and cost less, so there's a good change I've over estimated the cost per kilometre.


The Car versus Public Transport calculator is quite handy in answering the question is it cheaper to use public transport of use a car. There's so much promotion by the government to use their services that sometimes you really do start to wonder. Now it's easy to work out what's best for you.

What the calculator has shown in this situation is just how bad public transport is for short local trips. Even worse is this is with seniors concession so for people having to pay full fare, it cost considerably more. There should be no reason it is cheaper to use a car compared to a far less convenient, slower, heavily subsidised shared bus, but that's not how the government has set up its charging. It literally costs the same amount to go from the Melbourne Airport to Frankston as it does to travel one stop on a bus. That really doesn't encourage people to use local public transport for short local trips which really is a pity.

In any case, the Car versus Public Transport calculator is already proving to have been useful in helping me to better understand my costs and save me money. That's the main reason I write the calculators. Hopefully the calculator can save you money too.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.CarVersusPublicTransport.com.au

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Car versus Public Transport - which one is cheaper?

Answering the question of which is cheaper between car and public transport is not as easy as you first think. There really are a lot of variables, and sometimes it's cheaper to use a car and sometimes it's cheaper to use public transport.

The advantage of using public transport is often public transport is subsidised by tax payers by 40-60% and sometimes I've heard, up to 90%. So that means someone else is picking up probably around half the cost of your "real" cost. The major disadvantage of using public transport is time. It's not unusual for a trip on public transport to take three or more times the amount of time compared to a car. As an example, I set off one day to do some banking on a Saturday morning at 11 am. I reached the bank by 12:50 pm. That's a staggering 110 minutes for what takes about 6-10 minutes in a car. The stress of almost not getting to the bank by closing time at 1 pm was considerable.

Cars on the other hand have a considerable amount of costs you just don't think about.  When you get into your car for a trip you often don't actually pay anything. Sure we may think about the petrol cost, but then what about the rego and insurance cost each year.

Then there's the situation where you own a car and also take public transport. You really can't do without the car so like it or not, you've got recurring costs like rego and insurance even if the car stays in the garage.

So overall, it really is very hard to work out what the cost of using your car is for a single trip.

To help get an answer I've written a couple of calculators over time which I use. One is the car running cost calculator. I've gone through my records over the last 10 plus years and now I can quickly ask some questions which help me determine my cost per kilometre.

If I consider all costs so far, the cost of using my car has been 51 cents per kilometre. This does not include a financing cost or loss of interest on the money used to buy the car. If I consider only the petrol cost the cost has been 13 cents per kilometre. However I think a more accurate cost is the cost of the car, less an estimate of any remaining car value, plus any other costs. I don't include rego and insurance, but do include servicing. Using that approach this gives me a figure of 35 cents per kilometre. Sure it's not exact, but at least it's a good estimate.

Working out the cost of public transport is fairly easy. The time taken for car versus public transport can be estimate using Google Maps. The distance travelled by car can also be determined using Google Maps.

If time isn't a concern you then have everything you need to compare the cost of using a car to the cost of using public transport. If time is important, you'll need to work out a figure you're happy with that places a value on your time.

The Car versus Public Transport calculator has already revealed some quite unexpected results for people I've tested the calculator with. Hopefully the calculator will reveal some valuable insights for you as well.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.carversuspublictransport.com.au/

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Menzies electorate and the importance of your voting preferences.

Based on the last election results for Menzies, this election could be very close. It may all come down to preferences. I've found most people don't understand their preferences are just as important as their primary vote.

Here's a link to the 2016 Federal election.

https://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-229.htm

You can see Liberal Party won outright, but they only received 51.72% of the first preference votes. With over 50% of first preferences the Liberal Party couldn't lose. But what if there was a further swing against the liberal party which took them below the 50% mark. Still highly unlikely they'd lose, but it could happen.

All that then needs to happen is for all second preference votes to go Labor. Hard to believe isn't it. A party that gets around a quarter of the vote could actually get in. Whilst it may even be harder to believe, if a strong third contender entered the race taking votes from both the Liberal and Labor parties, then getting strong preference support, it's a really long shot, but the third candidate could have a slim chance.

How then do preferences work and how is it possible that preferences are so powerful.

Let's take a simple example.

Let's say the Liberal Party gets 49% of the first preference votes. Then an independent gets say 26% of the first preference votes and Labor gets 25% of the first preference votes.

Now what happens in our system, is since in the example above the Labor candidate came last, the way people entered their preferences are then used to split up the votes for the remaining two candidates. If everyone that voted for Labour listed their second preference as the independent, then all the votes for the Labor candidate would go to the independent. The independent would now end up with their 26% of first preference votes and the 25% of the Labor candidates votes as a second preference, giving the independent a total of 51% of the votes.

Few people realise the second preference vote has as much voting power as their first preference, should the candidate they're voting for end up with a lower number of votes than the leading candidates.

Candidates may do a deal with other candidates to give their preferences to each other. They don't really give anything, but what they do is list the order of how they feel people should vote. The order can be based on the deal that's been done that gives them the best chance of getting in.

Menzies is not a marginal seat. Around 77% of the votes at the last election went to Liberal (51.72%) or Labor (24.6%). There were 5.02% of informal votes (votes not entered correctly) and thus they didn't count. That leaves 18.66% of the vote for other candidates. That means no other candidate had a chance of winning, even if preferences were taken into account. As the preferences are taken into account and those candidates receiving the lowest number of votes removed, you finally end up with the two party preferred votes. Of the second and further preferences (20,656) the Liberal Party received a further 7,709 votes (37%) and the Labor Party received 12,947 votes (63%).

If you really want to make a difference with your vote, one way to maximise the value of your vote is to look at your preferences. Look at which parties are giving their preference to which candidates. Then vote for the candidate you most prefer and then each further candidate based on how they are allocating their preferences. There's a good chance a higher proportion of people will follow the candidate's How to Vote card and that will influence the very powerful preference votes.

Hopefully this post helps people understand a little more about our election system, and how truly powerful and important your second and further preferences really are.

Kelvin Eldridge


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Petrol Prices Melbourne price hike alert. Petrol prices at 166.9 spotted.

Checking petrol prices tonight I noticed a number of petrol stations around Melbourne have increased their unleaded price to 166.9 cents per litre. With the current gate price at 137.9 cents per litre, and then adding the usual 25-30 cents per litre when prices hike, we could expect to see the unlead petrol price to hike to somewhere in the range of 162.9 to 167.9. I would expect the price to hike to 164.9 as the price looks better and makes the price appear to be in the lower half of the 160-170 range. However at 166.9 this is still within the expected range.

I'll continue to watch the petrol prices as I usually like to wait until I see three or more Woolworths Petrol station increase their prices. Sometimes some petrol stations break from the pack just to later reduce their prices. Once I'm confident the petrol price hike cycle has started I'll notify those on the Alert mailing list.

Let's see what happens tomorrow.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Update: 1/05/2019
A few more petrol stations have increased their prices to 166.9. Looks like 166.9 is the new price hike price.

Update: 9/05/2019
The hiking of petrol prices has occurred quite slowly this time. It's 9 days since the first signs of the price hike started and still an estimated 20% of petrol station have not increased their prices. That's great for drivers as it means cheaper prices are still relatively easy to find.

A second unusual situation is the average gate price (think wholesale) has dropped a couple of cents so we're seeing a second group now raise their prices to 159.9, meaning even if you miss out on the cheaper prices there's still a 7 cents per litre saving that can be found.

As we approach the weekend it's probably safe to assume most prices will have gone up by Monday and perhaps prices might quickly drop to around the high 150 mark.

Early voting centre for Menzies

For those looking for the early voting centres for Menzies, the following page provides details of candidates and the locations of early voting centres.

https://www.aec.gov.au/election/vic/menzies.htm

Kelvin Eldridge

Alert: Your Optus bill for account xxxxx.

Sometimes timing can be everything, even for scammers.

Today I activated a new Optus prepaid service, so when I received an email bill from Optus, my first thought is what has Optus done. I've seen this happens to others. Rather than knowing the email's a scam, because the person has done something very recently with the same company, this leads a person to think the email is from the company. Timing. No this email isn't from Optus.

This is a scam email designed to trick people to click on the link (Vew your bill now). If you check the link it has nothing to do with Optus. Most likely it's a hacked website where the scammer has loaded their code onto the site without the site owner knowing. This is extremely common.

Next time you receive an email from one of your suppliers do pause for a moment. It's easy to be tricked by scammers when you're under pressure, or perhaps just not thinking clearly.

Discard these emails for the junk they are.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Active April upsell much stronger this year.

The Premier's Active April is marketed around people getting out and getting fit. Almost a feel good campaign for the community. Last year we joined the local Aquarena and took advantage of the free offers. Ten free sessions including full use of the pool, spa and classes.

This year the offer from Aquarena wasn't as generous. What is also different is the follow-up marketing. Two phones calls and a text message and April isn't over.

This year it feels more like The Premier's Active April upsell. Gone is the feeling the promotion is good for the community, but more like a corporate marketing strategy to get people to use the facilities so they can be marketed to.

I haven't activated the membership this year and next year I'll probably just give it a miss.

I'm always reminded when things like this happen that government is just a business, just like every other business.

Kelvin

Can we really trust the weather temperature reporting and thus record temperatures and thus global warming.

Today I learned something that almost had me in disbelief. This was purely by accident. I wrote a convenience web app that showed yesterday's temperature. But sometimes the data isn't available for the maximum from the previous day at 9am in the morning. So I thought, what about the daily readings from the weather stations. The didn't match. Two lots of data where the high and low from the previous day's data didn't match. How could this be?

I can explain this away since one lot of data is reported every 30 minutes. If these are spot measurements then the temperature at each minute, or even every second, could be higher or lower but we wouldn't know. So yes, it's easy for there to be a difference.

Then I read an article where a retired head master has an obvious special interest in the weather and followed through on why temperatures can spike quite a bit minute to minute. We're now in an age where we're using different measuring devices. Devices that can accurately measure temperature at a particular point in time. Ever walked through water at the beach an noticed how there's warmer spots and even areas that seem to flow with different temperatures. What's the temperature of the water? What's to say this isn't happening with measuring the air temperature. Instantaneous fluctuations. Yes the measurement isn't wrong, but to compare this type of measure with historical records where equipment by its nature averaged out the reading due to slower response times, can make for significant apparent changes that make the headlines.

The hottest overnight temperature on record. Or was it just because we're now measuring it differently? The headline grabbers don't highlight that we may be talking about a fraction of a degree. That doesn't make it as sensational.

This really plays into the hands of the climate change sceptics. If we can't trust the weather reporting then how can we trust what's being reported about climate change. Any scientist (or politician) going against climate change right now won't be treated seriously, or worse, they'll be treated very poorly.

This is one person's story I found interesting.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/19/in-australia-faulty-bom-temperature-sensors-contribute-to-hottest-year-ever/

The issue isn't about whether the temperature is being measured correctly, but the time the measurements are averaged over. It appears the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia uses a single spot measurement each minute, whereas in the UK it is the average of the 60 measurements in the minute (one per second) and in the USA, it is the average over 5 minutes. There's nothing wrong with any of the approaches, but what is wrong is you can't compare if you measure things differently.

Another article I thought worth reading was how the historical temperatures in Darwin have been reduced using different approaches. Few people are experts in this area but for us laypeople, it just doesn't feel right to go back and reduce historical temperature values which then helps argue that global warming is occurring. That just puts doubt into people's mind. Doubt is all the climate change sceptics need to convince people climate change isn't happening. No science. Just doubt.

https://jennifermarohasy.com/2019/02/changes-to-darwins-climate-history-are-not-logical/

In this case, removing the earlier hot period from the data so it is outside the range for the trend just doesn't make sense. So often we see people who wish to prove their point only use a selection of data which proves their point, but ignores other data which does not help their case.

Now when I hear news items about the highest or lowest temperature for a day, month, period, I need to be aware of  how much the change is. If that's not reported it's just sensationalist reporting designed to grab headlines and capture viewers attention.

The real sadness here is I do believe we are having a negative impact on our world. Just living, eating, consuming, travelling, all use resources. The more people the more resources. There has to be an impact and that impact just feels like it will be devastating. To not have a global standard by which all countries agree means it's far more difficult to do something globally and be in agreement.

What started as what appeared to be a very simple personal project, of what was yesterday's temperature, became far more complex. The good outcome however is if we just chill and relax, all that is really needed from yesterday's weather is a rough guide. A few degrees here or there doesn't really matter. We just want to know what yesterday's weather is so we can compare it to today. Is it going to be similar, hotter, or cooler? The answer doesn't need high precision.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.WeatherYesterday.com.au

PS. Unlike some sites this post is not meant to be a criticism of the Bureau of Meteorology. Weather is not an exact science. The resources provided by the BOM are used by most of us most days of the year and are appreciated. I have no idea if the actual historical raw data is being modified and I certainly hope it isn't. Modelling isn't the raw data, just someone's interpretation of the raw data, and that can and will change over time as technology and knowledge changes.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Points Calculator for Points, kilojoules and Calories now available.

Need to work out the kilojoules, Calories or Points for a food item, the Points Calculator now makes it easier.

Just enter the serving size and energy per 100g and you can calculate the kilojoules and Calories. For those using Points, enter the protein, saturated fat and sugars content to get the number of points for the serving size.

A new feature which will appear on the Points Calculator will be the ability to scan a barcode and if the food item's details are already stored, the details will be loaded for you. Since it's only me loading the food items we use, it may take a while before this feature is available to others.

If you need to calculate kilojoules, Calories or Points for a food item, visit https://www.PointsCalculator.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PointsCalculator.com.au

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Weather Yesterday Melbourne web app now live.

Weather Yesterday web app came about because a person said it's very difficult to find yesterday's weather. If you search for Weather Yesterday Melbourne you can't easily find the information from the Bureau of Meteorology. When checking a site tonight, the weather for Melbourne was nothing like the actual weather. Lots of information but nothing that seemed correct.

Really all the person wanted was the max, min and rainfall for yesterday in Melbourne.

The Weather Yesterday web app shows the weather yesterday in Melbourne. Just the min, max and rainfall. Simple and easy to read. Quick to access.

You can find Weather Yesterday at www.WeatherYesterday.com.au.

Kelvin

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Intagrammers taking huge risks, sometimes with the worst of outcomes.

Yesterday's news headlines on Bing are a reminder just how crazy our world can get. Most days we read about social media influencers and users affecting areas, taking huge risks and even dying for those special pictures.


Yesterday the following news items appeared on Bing. Two out of the first three items were about intagrammers. One who had died, and another couple who took pictures of what look like a very dangerous situation. One woman dangling over the edge of a large drop being held by a man in a swimming pool. All for the sake of that "perfect" instagrammable picture.

Because these people seem to be successful at what they do, others who may not be as prepared or experienced, may attempt to copy or better their pictures.

It's a real concern. Perhaps some money is made by these people, but certainly the most money is made by those running the social media services.

Please, please, do take care capturing that intragrammable moment. Consider others around you and those that will be impacted if something doesn't go to plan. It's really not worth it.

Be safe.

Kelvin


Monday, April 15, 2019

Alert: Your account has been hacked! You need to unlock.

If you receive emails with the subject: "Your account has been hacked! You need to unlock." don't be too concerned. This is a scam.

The email goes on to say you've been watching porn. They've recorded you using your web cam and if you don't pay up, they'll post the video to your contacts or the internet. Pretty scary. However it is most likely a scam and they have no recording of you.

I receive multiple emails of this form to multiple email address most days. The email addresses for which they say they've hacked my account in many cases, don't actually have an account. They are just forwarded email address. So no account, so it's just a bluff.

OK. So what about the future. That webcam on your computer really is an exposure. Should you get an infected computer that can really use the webcam, that's a concern. Anyone could check out you, your family, your home.

A quick and easy solution to this is a bandaid. Yes a bandaid. Since the padding part has no sticky substance, you can place the bandaid over the web cam and you can easily remove the bandaid if you need to.

Chances are you probably rarely if ever use the webcam. If you don't use the webcam like many people also don't, then a bandaid can remove this potential issue and give you peace of mind.

I hope others find this tip useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Adsense: Valuable inventory: Under construction

As mentioned previously something has changed with Google Adsense whereby sites are being rejected more. The exact reason unfortunately is difficult to work out.

In the case of the site https://www.CarRunningCostCalculator.com.au trying to add the site to Google Adsense resulted in the message "Valuable inventory: Under construction". The site isn't under construction and has been live now for a few months.

The site https://www.Mapz.com.au likewise also returned the message "Valuable inventory: Under construction". This site has been live for years, but recently I updated the site to be responsive rather than separate mobile and desktop pages. One suspicion I have is Mapz is largely map sites with not too much text. That may get the site rejected, but the message certainly doesn't indicate this would be the reason.

As suggested in the earlier post when you receive messages like this there's probably not much you can do about. In this case it's best to find another ad provider, or at least it's much easier and you'll have live ads displaying in less time.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.


Friday, April 05, 2019

HelloFresh discount code.

Received an invitation from a friend recently who tried and enjoyed using HelloFresh. It was a free trial so I had nothing to lose unless I miss the pause/cancel date. Signed up tonight as I thought I'd give it a go.

Whilst I can't pass on the same trial to others, I did notice they had a refer a friend offer where both parties get a $50 credit. The person using the code gets $50 off their first order. If this interests anyone the following is the link HelloFresh provided for me.

Visit HelloFresh for more information. Discount code should be applied.

As always make sure you read the terms. Also be careful with the automatic ordering. You can pause the automatic order and cancel the automatic orders.

Kelvin Eldridge


Thursday, April 04, 2019

Petrol prices in Melbourne starting to go up to 159.9.

Today I was a little surprised when I noticed a number of Woolworths Petrol stations had increased their price of unleaded petrol to 159.9. Surprised because today's gate price (think wholesale) is 131.6 and prices don't normally jump until prices drop below the gate price.

OK. I totally forgot that school holidays in Victoria start this weekend. Now it makes sense. Prices are being hiked just in time for the school holidays.

Currently there's not too many petrol stations that have increased the price of unleaded petrol, so it is always possible the petrol stations have made a jump on the pack.

Time to keep an eye on petrol prices.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Days Between Dates Calculator now using SSL.

I personally don't consider a need for using SSL (secure sockets layer) on sites like www.DaysBetweenDates.com.au, but if you're using Google Chrome, you will receive information that the site is not secure.

Does it really matter if you're typing in a couple of dates. I don't think so. But of course Google Chrome can't tell what you're typing in so they flag the site as not secure. As a result, as a developer I need to then revisit each site and perform changes taking time and sometimes money that offers no additional value to users. That's a huge cost to the community when you consider how many sites need to do the same.

But as they say, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. A more secure internet really is better for everyone. As time and resources permit I'll be revisiting sites that don't use SSL and migrate them to SSL.

Yesterday I migrated www.DaysBetweenDates.com.au. There's no visible changes for users, but now if you go to the site, the site will be secured using SSL and a lock symbol will appear in the address bar of the browser.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.DaysBetweenDates.com.au

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Cruise Travel Insurance - 1Travel, Cover-More, Medicare, RACV, Bupa, Woolworths Insurance

When travelling overseas I consider it always to be a good idea to get travel insurance. The main reason is you hear horror stories with medical costs. Travel insurance provides peace of mind, and in some cases, is necessary to visit some locations.

If you purchase travel insurance through a travel agency or your cruise company, you may end paying hundreds of dollars more. It really is a case of checking around which can be easily done online.

Recently I checked the following. There's others I don't have confidence in and there's companies I'd never heard of. Perhaps there's an even better deal but whilst you may not get the absolute minimum shopping around, at least you can make some good savings.

1Travel
Cover-More
Medicare
RACV
Bupa
Woolworths Insurance

Make sure you get the cover you need. For example read the PDS (Product Disclosure Statement). Use the search function Control+F and search for "cruise" to help find the sections relating to cruises.

It's not really difficult work, but it is tedious, but it can also save hundreds of dollars.

Medicare travel insurance was the most expensive costing up to three times more than others. 1Travel had a huge $3,000 for one quote and not great prices. Cover-More the one listed by P &O Cruises is hundreds of dollars more expensive. Looks good until you add the price for your cruise fare which adds hundreds. Cancellation of the cruise fare is probably one of things you'd expect in the Cover-More policy by default, but it's not there.

What did surprise me was Bupa's travel insurance was quite reasonable. RACV travel insurance was quite reasonable and both Bupa and RACV give members a 15% discount. Not a member though.

The cheapest was Woolworths insurance. I've used them before. However there don't cover people over 80.

In the end the RACV insurance was clear and specifically had an option for cruises. Medical evacuation was included. For $30 more went for the highest cover. Usually I'm prudent, but I've heard of friends and contacts getting hurt travelling so peace of mind is important.

Really I'd recommend shopping around. For a two week cruise the savings from shopping around could easily be as much as $300-$400.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Emergency Phone, spare phone, uses for an old mobile phone.

Recently I announced the GPS Tracker For Car site. The GPS Tracker for Car site shares information on using an older mobile as a GPS tracker which can be placed on or in equipment such as cars, so if the car is stolen, there may be a chance to tracker and locate the car.

Sometimes however when creating one project you learn something you didn't previously know.

I often see EMERGENCY CALL on my mobile's lock screen. Never really thought about this, but it's there if needed. There's a number of features of mobile phones I never really thought about or knew.

No SIM is required to make an emergency call.

WOW.

It appears all mobile phone have the ability to call emergency services without a SIM card installed. Just turn on the mobile and call the emergency number. Even if the mobile is locked.

That means if you have an old mobile phone without a SIM, keep it turned off, but charge it every now and again, you have a mobile phone ready for an emergency and it doesn't cost a cent.

Lock screen can have emergency information text displayed.

Lost your phone or in an accident and someone picks up your phone. You can place text on the lock screen which provides others a means of contacting an emergency contact. This could be very useful in the case you're incapacitated, or you lose your mobile.

ICE

This was recently suggested to me by a nurse. ICE which stands for In Case of Emergency is a standard that's gaining some traction world wide. Add a contact in your contact for the contact ICE. You can provide a number or in my case I added notes as well. Often however your mobile will be locked. However some mobiles will allow you to associate a contact with an emergency call.

In the case of my Samsung S7 if I press the EMERGENCY CALL I get the option to place a call to emergency services or to add emergency contacts. If I select add emergency contacts I am shown my favourites. With ICE added as a favourite, ICE is available to then add to your emergency call list. Now if someone finds your mobile, or needs to use it because you can't, all they need to do is swipe the screen, press on EMERGENCY CALL and then they can select the ICE contact and call them.

I suspect the ICE contact can't be contacted if you don't have a SIM card installed, current, or activated, but it's an option available for others to help you if required.

Lock a mobile so only listed contacts can be called

Based on the EMERGENCY CALL feature and the idea that you can add a list of contacts to the emergency screen, this also means you could set up your mobile for one of your children with just the numbers you want them to be able to call. Lock the mobile so it can't be used for any other purpose. Then if your child needs to call you, they swipe the screen, select EMERGENCY CALL, then select you as the contact and call you.

That's certainly a feature I never knew existed and means a mobile phone with limited functionality, could be provided to children in their bags in case of an emergency. If the mobile is left off the battery will retain it's charge for some time. If the mobile is on, and it's OK with the child, the parent could also locate their child using the same approach GPS Track for Car uses. This means parents could see where their children are when using public transport. Particularly useful if they need to pick them up from the station or bus or tram stop.

Spare phone

Separate from the use of the emergency facility built into mobile phones, it also became apparent recently an old phone could be used as a spare phone. Take an old phone, insert a SIM card with a 365 day prepaid plan (these can be found in the plans section of GPS Tracker For Car) and leave it turned off in your car or bag, and you have a back-up phone if it's needed.

I recently left home to meet someone in the shopping centre but left my mobile behind. Let's just say it did not go well. The help desk helped get in contact will someone who could call the person I was meeting and let them know where to meet. A spare phone in the car would have solved this problem instantly.

I read recently of hikers wanting a spare phone and thought that was such a good idea. A mobile turned off, with a 365 day prepaid plan, sealed in ziplock bags and an old phone could make a good emergency back-up phone.

Hopefully some of these ideas may be useful for others.

Kelvin Eldridge
GPS Tracker For Car
www.GPSTrackerForCar.com.au

Update: 8/04/2019
Just set up an Amaysim SIM using $10 starter pack for a mobile to stay in the car as an emergency or back-up phone. The mobile will be off and should keeps its charge for many months. Also disabled data so no charges when mobile turned on. Amaysim offer a refer a friend link where both parties get a $10 credit. Use this link (http://amaysi.ms/r/Ovi8BWsU) and it means a back-up mobile can cost very little to have available. Remember this approach uses the AS YOU GO payment option. The AS YOU GO lasts 365 days. If the mobile is off no credit is being used.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Mini GF-07 Car GPS Tracker

I've been working on a GPS Track For Car approach using an old mobile an inexpensive mobile plan. Basically the hardware's free because you already have a suitable old mobile phone sitting in a drawer and all that's required is a suitable plan.

The GPS Tracker For Car approach is now documented and available at www.GPSTrackerForCar.com.au.

One friend recently purchased a Mini GF-07 Car GPS Tracker. The device is inexpensive and very compact. My friend couldn't get the Mini GF-07 to work so they gave it to me to test. On reading the manual it is apparent the Mini GF007 uses GSM which is the 2G network. All 2G networks in Australia have been switched off, so any device that uses 2G will not work. 

I've also seen Mini GF-07 devices promoted as 3G on eBay. Given the product has the same code and similar price, the product is highly likely to be a fake and not use 3G.

To further trick people eBay sellers often have an Australian flag and colours of the Australian flag which may lead people to feel these products are suitable for Australia. They're not. There's even sites with .com.au domains which again give substance to the feeling the product will work in Australia. It's still the same device using the 2G mobile network and will thus not work in Australia.

To double check the GF-07 doesn't work in Australia I inserted a Telstra SIM card that was known to work and sent the code 777 via SMS to get the current location. No response. Whilst this doesn't show 100% it doesn't work, there's no way to know if something doesn't work for certain if there's something you don't know. But there's a very high probability that the GF-07 does not work in Australia. The GF-07 certainly didn't work for me.

The following link has a good table and shows that no Australian telco supports 2G any longer in Australia.

https://www.whistleout.com.au/MobilePhones/Guides/Will-my-phone-work-in-Australia-carrier-network-frequencies

Hopefully this experience will help other people in Australia who are looking at the Mini GF-07 Car GPS Tracker.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support

Update: 18/04/2019
The following is a graphic from eBay for the item purchased. Lots of Australian related images including stock in Australia Australia Post logo. This is surely deceptive as it would lead people in Australia to think the product would work in Australia.






Sunday, March 17, 2019

Telstra, Vodafone, Optus unlock fees.

You can often pick up a discounted mobile phone from the supermarkets, but it is usually locked to a network. How much then is the unlock fee?

Telstra

From the Telstra site.

You can unlock your Telstra Pre-Paid mobile, iPhone or mobile broadband devices, so it works on another network - but if you’ve had it activated on the Telstra network for less than two years, we charge:

$80 for devices never activated or only active for six months or less

$25 for devices activated for six months to 2 years.

Good to know
After two years, we don’t charge an unlocking fee.


Optus

From the Optus site

Have you recharged your service to a minimum / accumulated amount of $80.00?

Yes: There is no fee to network unlock your handset

No: How long has your service been active?

Less than 6 months: There is an $80 fee
More than 6 months: There is a $25 fee

Vodafone

From the Vodafone site.

If you purchased your device outright to use with a prepaid service, there'll be a fee to unlock it from the Vodafone network.

If you’ve had your device for less than 6 months there’s a $50 unlocking fee.

If you’ve had your device for over 6 months there’s a $25 unlocking fee.

Other information

The above assumes the mobile is purchased for use on a prepaid plan. If you purchase a mobile on a plan from a telco, it may or may not be locked.

In my experience I've purchased a Optus USB/Wi-Fi on prepaid but the device was not locked. I've had two devices unlocked from Telstra, but a third was too old and they didn't have the unlock information available. They were going to get the information and send it to me but the information never arrived. The lessons here are test your device to see if it is locked, and if it is locked, don't wait too long before unlocking the device.

Overall I feel Vodafone's devices are the worst as you always have to pay an unlocking fee. With Optus and Telstra after two years, you can get the device unlocked. With Optus, if you spend more than $80, you can get the device unlocked earlier.

Overall this would mean the Optus approach is best, Telstra next and Vodafone last.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

GPS Tracker For Car web app now available.

For a while I've been working on writing up a hack I've been experimenting with and the results are now available on the GPS Tracker For Car site.

Some time ago I had a thought. A number of people I know had their cars stolen. Why not use an old mobile phone as a GPS tracker. Place the old mobile phone in the car, keep it charged each week, and if the car is stolen, you should be able to find the location of the car.

Since we probably all have old mobile phones sitting around the place, the cost of a GPS tracker for a car would be minimal. Since mobiles based on iOS and Android now include the ability to locate the mobile phone, no extra software is required. All that is required is a suitable mobile plan.

Reviewing the mobile plans available, how much data the GPS tracker would use and my testing is now complete. The GPS Tracker For Car site is now up and running and includes the results of my research.

With an old Apple mobile phone and the right plan, you can now have a GPS tracker in your car for under $20 a year. Android mobiles use more data, but again the cost isn't excessive. One extra benefit is if for some reason your current mobile bites the dust, you have a back-up mobile your can use in an emergency already in your car.

Hopefully the hack will help others locate their stolen cars and give them peace of mind.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.GPSTrackerForCar.com.au
GPS Tracker For Car

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Melbourne petrol prices starting to hike. Unleaded petrol spotted at 151.9.

Last night I noticed two Woolworths Petrol stations in Preston had increased their petrol price for unleaded to 151.9. Today I checked and around five petrol stations had increased their prices to 151.9. All are Caltex or Caltex/Woolworths petrol stations.

The average gate price (think wholesale price) today is 126.3. In February on the 3rd, the gate price dropped to a low of 115.2. When unleaded retail prices started to hike around the 13th of February the gate price had increased to 118.4, At the moment we are seeing a gradual increase in the gate price and thus we can expect unleaded prices to also continue to increase.

The usual pattern for unleaded petrol price increases is for the retail price to hike to around 25 to 30 cents per litre above the gate price. Thus the next price hike is expected to be around 151.9 to 156.9, so 151.9 is at the low end. The price of 151.9 is a little unusual as most prices appear to end in 4.9 or 9.9. It's likely the price may quickly drop to 149.9 and then the discount cycle for the next three to four weeks will continue the price drop.

Since the first signs of the price hike have occurred on a Monday, and there is no period of peak usage like school holidays, it's likely the rest of the market will follow slowly with prices at most petrol stations being restored to the peak later in the week or over the weekend.

Watch the prices carefully and if you're using the 7 Eleven Fuel app, wait until prices have started to increase at 7 Eleven to lock in a low price for another week. Too early and you may have locked in a low price whilst there's still low prices around at other petrol stations.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne
https://www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

PS. Whilst it is possible the five petrol stations are a false indication of the price hike, the price hike is still expected soon as the retail price is now near or below the gate price for many petrol stations.

Update: 13/03/2019
The Caltex/Woolworths petrol stations have flipped and dropped their prices back to the current low prices today. The Caltex petrol stations that had hiked their price kept their prices high. Some additional BP services stations have increased their prices taking the number to around 10 petrol stations in the Melbourne area that have hiked their prices. This is still a relatively small number, but is indicative of prices still dropping in some areas whilst the price hike is just around the corner. In other words there's no rush to fill up our tanks, but we do have to watch the prices.

Update: 14/03/2019
The number of petrol stations that have hiked their prices has roughly doubled. Still not a large number though. The maximum price hike however has now moved to 153.9 cents per litre for unleaded.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Car insurance quote - Coles, Woolworths, AAMI, RACV

It's time again to renew the car insurance for our 2016 Honda HR-V. It really is a good idea to shop around. Don't believe those ads on TV about one insurance company saving you money as we got a quote them once and they were much, much higher. Also don't fall for the ads on Google offering cheaper car insurance. Chances are you can get better by getting quotes direct from the company sites.

We're currently with AAMI. We've been long time customers of AAMI but at some point, AAMI was sold to Suncorp so really, it's now just a name. Plus we've had a very bad experience with a Suncorp repair. Two companies cover 80% of the market so also don't think because you're buying from another brand you're buying from another company.

I decided to visit the sites for Coles, Woolworths and RACV. We have a renewal from AAMI so no need to visit their site. The agree value was around $18,700 and the excess around $800. The following are the prices we found.

Coles - $1,224.17 (Agreed value $18,125 maximum allowed, excess $850)
Woolworths - $680.04 (agree value $18,700, excess $800)
RACV - $757.36 (Agreed value $18,900, excess $825)
AAMI - $770.91 (With discount, Agreed value $18,900, excess $800)

The winner this year appears to be Woolworths Car Insurance.

Car insurance changes all the time so each year when you get your renewal notice, it's prudent to shop around. As you can see from the prices above the range is considerable. I've seen one well advertised company quote roughly three times the price of another well known company so take the advertising with a grain of salt.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

PS. Web apps I've written which may interest you are: Petrol Cost Calculator, Petrol Prices MelbourneNearest Petrol Station and Car Running Cost Calculator

Update: 1/3/2019
As this is a second car driving around 7,000 km per year, decided to change to usage rather than unlimited kms. Used 9,000 as usage so plenty of room for increased usage. The price was reduced to around $541. Interestingly if I took of the older second driver (that's me) the price increased around $60. So if there's an older second driver include them and the price is reduced.

Adsense - Valuable Inventory: No content

A while ago a few of my sites were no longer showing Google AdSense ads. The sites were no longer listed in the AdSense Site list. Adding the site www.NearestTrainStation.com.au today returned the reason being "Valuable Inventory: No content" as shown in the following.



I tried adding this site again to AdSense today as another site that was also rejected for the same reason, when I added it yesterday, the site was added to Google AdSense without a problem.

Whilst I can't be sure, I have a feeling there may be a couple of different reasons you may get this message.

For the other site which was www.PavingCalculator.com.au, which is now acceptable to Google AdSense, with if I recall correctly there were no changes. I decided to try the www.NearestTrainStation.com.au site but that site was still being rejected. Perhaps it's the large map taking up much of the screen. You never really know.

All I can suggest in this situation to try again at some future point. This site had been working for years without a problem and now there's a problem. I'm guessing but I suspect the review is automated so it's not a human making the decision but an algorithm. Algorithms change.

In the meantime rather than Google AdSense ads I'll include ads from a different organisation. I do prefer using Google AdSense, but if for some reason I'm not meeting their requirements and I can't work out what's wrong, it's best to move on.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support

Update: 5/03/2019
Resubmitted www.carrunningcostcalculator.com.au which was rejected with the "Valuable Inventory: No content" message. NOTE: The were no ads included on the page at time of submission as a site.
Whilst there's no idea as to why the site is rejected, it is possible the number of fields appearing on the form is giving the bots an issue.

Update: 29/03/2019
Site www.GPSTrackerForCar.com.au also rejected with the Valuable Inventory: No content" message. Perhaps providing enough examples may help others work out what the pattern is for sites being rejected.

Update: 6/04/2019
Found I'd made an error with the canonical tag on www.GPSTrackerForCar.com.au as I'd repeated the same tag across the three pages. I fixed this issue and resubmitted. Still getting the same message. Not sure what the issue is. To reiterate this site is my own work based on my own research. No material is copied from other sites.

McDonald's Chicken McFeast $5 meal.

Now I don't really want to encourage people to eat McDonald's, but for those who already do, the Chicken McFeast $5 meal is good value.

A while ago I went to Maccas in the Knox Shopping Centre. Before ordering I opened the Maccas app on my mobile to check the Maccas at Knox were selling the Chicken McFeast, which they were. I walked up to the counter and ordered the Chicken McFeast. I was told they didn't sell the Chicken McFeast. I said, "according to the app you do". The person then got the manager. The manager said it was after 2 pm so the Chicken McFeast was not on special. I said, "according to the app the offer is until 5 pm". Dare I say it I did not get happy customer service, but I did get my Chicken McFeast, or so I thought. I sat down to eat the Chicken McFeast only to find I'd been given a McFeast with a beef patty. Exasperated I couldn't help but shake my head.

This experience actually reinforced a good lesson Even though the Chicken McFeast special is often not promoted, the special offer is current and available. To check, open the Maccas app on your mobile and go to order a Chicken McFeast from the store you're at, or going to. The Chicken McFeast can be found under the Classic burger range. Also to check the offer is still available you need to go to order the meal and then select the small size. You'll see the price is $5 and the offer is until 5 pm. You don't need to order the meal through the app.

I now always check the app before ordering the Chicken McFeast. Avoids any potential grief.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

McDonald's app location not working.

I noticed a couple of times recently when using the McDonald's app, the app didn't know the current location. The McDonald's app was remembering a location from earlier or another time.

I've seen this happen a number of times with different apps and web pages, and the quickest solution I've found is to open Google maps. Once Google maps finds your location, open the app and the app or web page will use your current location as found by Google maps.

The  McDonald's app is good if you want to see the prices of your local McDonald's, since prices can change between McDonald's stores, and also to check if the special offers are available, but if you just want to quickly find the nearest McDonald's store, then I've created the Mapz site.

Using the Mapz site (www.Mapz.com.au) on a mobile phone you can quickly find the nearest 10 McDonald's stores. Great for when you're driving and looking for the nearest McDonald's that will be on your way.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Mapz.com.au

Friday, February 15, 2019

Petrol Price Alert: Melbourne petrol prices increasing to 143.9 cents per litre for unleaded.

Last night I noticed the first Woolworths petrol station in Coburg to increase their unleaded price to 143.9. I send out petrol price alerts once I see a couple more petrol stations increase their prices. It's unusual for a petrol station to increase their price and then drop again, but I have seen it happen, so I usually wait for a couple to increase prices.

Today a few more petrol stations have increased their unleaded petrol to 143.9 so it looks like the petrol price hike has started. Shop around whilst you're driving and use the apps. There's prices around 110 mark, but 114-115 is more usual.

If you're using the 7 Eleven Fuel app over the weekend if you're driving through an area with lower prices it may be a good time perhaps Sunday to lock in cheaper prices for another week.

Today I filled up for 115.9 at the local Shell/Coles Express. I rarely fill up at this petrol station as the prices usually aren't competitive. With the discount docket it matched the local Woolworths petrol stations and since it was closer, it made sense to fill up. Any petrol stations I'm going past today are around 117. There's cheaper petrol in Balwyn but the reality is the cost of petrol and using the car doesn't often warrant driving out of your way to get cheaper petrol. If you're going that way then great, but otherwise, usually not worth the additional cost.

Kelvin Eldridge
https://www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Bunnings Nylex Mist Base Sprinkler doesn't produce mist.

I was looking for something to make very fine mist on those sweltering Melbourne days. A fine mist can cool you down without getting you soaked. When I saw on Bunnings online the Nylex Mist Base Sprinkler, I thought I'd have to give this one a try.

The Nylex Mist Base Sprinkler as a way to produce mist is a disappointment. It really is a sprinkler, yes perhaps it produces slightly less spray than a regular sprinkler, but certainly not mist. Perhaps the product should be renamed a fine sprinkler because naming it a mist sprinkler certainly lead me to believe it would produce mist.

If you're looking for a sprinkler to produce mist, give this one a miss.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Monday, February 04, 2019

What is the cost to run the air conditioner?

Melbourne recently sweltered with high temperatures in the 40s. Often in the high temperatures we head out for the day to the shopping centre, the movies, or the beach. But this time we decided to stay home and turn on the air conditioner.

The question I had is just how much did this cost.

The air conditioner was on from around 10 am on the morning of the 25th of January 2018, until after  7pm at night. At 10 am the temperature was around 37 degrees and peaked around 2 pm at 44 degrees. Certainly exceptional weather.

The following graph shows our electricity usage on the 25th of January 2019.


Our electricity usage for the day was 39 kWh at a cost of $8.68. Our normal average daily electricity use is around 5 kWh.

On an hourly basis our energy usage is often under 0.2 kWh per hour. With the air condition on usage was between 3.1 and 3.3 kWh per hour. The air conditioner thus uses around 3 kWh per hour of electricity.

In terms of usage, if we assume our average usage of around 5 kWh per day, we used around 34 kWh or extra electricity over the 9-10 hours. In terms of cost, if we assume 34 kWh or the 39 kWh was due to the air conditioner, the cost was around $7.56 to keep cool for the day or around 75 cents per hour.

The following graph shows our electricity usage for the month of January. Even though there were other hot days, we often try to keep our usage of the air conditioner low if we can.


For some time I'd wondered how much the extra electricity would cost compare to going out. Going out is OK, but often you end up buying things, or eating out. Staying home and paying for the extra electricity really isn't a bad option. It's probably the most cost effective option.

I hope you find this information as useful as I have.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au




Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Vodafone My Vodafone error Connection Lost

Since yesterday whenever I try to run the My Vodafone app I get the message Connection Lost.


Everything else appears to be working with the Vodafone mobile service.

If I go to the Vodafone site and try to log on to My Vodafone using a computer I receive the following error messages on Safari and Google Chrome.


Restarting the mobile phone made no difference.

I've written this post as others may be experiencing the same issue.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support

Update: 30 January 2019
This issue came good yesterday afternoon after around a day and a half of the My Vodafone app/site not working. In other words the problem wasn't on the user end.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Crown Casino parking rates. Watch out for the $21 flat rate parking.

I don't go into the city very often so don't really know the good places to park. Since I've been to Crown Casino a few times I know the Crown Casino parking facility. As a result I tend to park there.

I parked at Crown Casino last Saturday and noticed the rather scrappy signs at the entrance stating $21 flat rate parking. A bit steep I thought but it is there choice what they charge.

I stayed for around 4-5 hours which normally would be $6, but this time because I entered after 11 am on a Saturday, ended up paying the $21.

The following are the parking rates for Crown Casino parking for those interested.


The Flat Rate section lets you know the times when the rather high $21 fee applies.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Postcode Finder web app now live.

The Postcode Finder web app is now live an available at www.PostcodeFinder.com.au.

If you're wanting to find the location for a postcode, or to find the postcode for a location, the Postcode Finder now provides those features for Victoria. Why Victoria only and not all of Australia? Because the data was readily available for Victoria under a developer friendly licence and rather than not provide anything, I felt it was better to at stage make the Postcode Finder available for Victoria.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PostcodeFinder.com.au

Google Adsense: Valuable Inventory: No content

I recently found a couple of my web app sites were no longer serving Adsense ads. These sites had been OK for years, so something has changed with Google Adsense.

Whilst I can't be certain it looks like in October 2018 Google Adsense moved the Sites option closer to the top of the Adsense page in a more prominent position. The aim appears to make sure the webmaster can add some code to their site and thus have control over the site. I'm not sure but it looks like an automated process recently went through my sites adding them to the site list. A couple of sites failed, however most were OK.

The sites that failed weren't immediately obvious. The Adsense showing on the pages simply no longer displayed. Checking errors on the page showed there was an error 403. I went and checked the ads in Adsense and they'd been deleted which meant the error 403 made sense as there was nothing to show.

The site also didn't appear in the Sites section of Adsense. Resubmitting the site now resulted in the site being rejected with the message: Valuable Inventory: No content.

From Adsense's point of view the sites don't have much content as they tend to be web apps, much like native apps on mobile devices, but using web pages. Whilst these have been OK for Google Adsense in the past, it appears they no longer are.

So far I've not found a way for Google Adsense to accept the sites so the only alternative is to use alternative ad services. These work fine, but I did like the convenience that Adsense offers. I suspect any review will use bots to check the page so there's not much I can do, and really, any time spent is probably a waste of time when there are alternate ad services available.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Friday, January 18, 2019

Energy Australia - Your EnergyAustralia electricity bill is here - spam/scam.

Today I received six emails that are designed to appear to come from EnergyAustralia that look like the following.


These emails are fake and most likely designed to scam you in some way. The View Bill link takes you to s a site that is not an EnergyAustralia site.

EnergyAustralia customers were also targeted on the 16th of January 2019 with a similar mass mail out.

If you receive emails like this you should discard them. Don't click on the links. Even if the email is really from your provider, it is still best to open your browser and go to the site and then log onto your account.

Every day we receive multiple attacks like this, possibly thousands a year and it can be easy to be tricked. You can't let your guard down when it comes to technology and scammers.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Aldi Gardenline Hose Reel Set 15m


Our old host set is getting a bit long in the tooth and leaks a bit, so when I saw the Aldi Gardenline Hose Reel Set 15m I thought it was worth purchasing.

The packaging states "Pre-connected and ready to go". Yes it was but as soon as I attached the hose and turned it on, the hose connecting to the mail reel feel out leaving the connector on the main reel and nothing on the end of the house.

I then reattached the hose to the connector and tighten using multigrips so that it was tighter than I could get using my hands alone. The hose continued to leak. The connector at the end of the hose was good as was where the hose connected to the tap. But where the hose connected to the reel it leaked.

A second issue I had with the unit was pulling out the house. Our old hose reel you could pull the hose out and the reel would stay put. It is just a wireframe unit. With the Aldi Gardenline Hose Reel if you try to pull the feel out the reel unit just follows you. You need to hold the reel unit and pull out the hose. Not very convenient at all.

Overall I'd say give the Aldi Gardenline Hose Reel Set at miss. Back to Aldi with this one. Very disappointing.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Monday, January 14, 2019

Paving Calculator web app now live.

Doing some paving?

If you're doing some paving the Paving Calculator may come in very handy. From the first stages of working out how many pavers per square metre and the cost per square metre, through to calculating the number of pavers for the required area.

Having a Paving Calculator helps make it easier to compare prices for pavers when you're given the size of a paver and the price per paver. By converting the price to per square metre you can more easily compare prices for different sized pavers.

Often when we're paving we work out the size we want to pave. However if you make the size slightly smaller to use a whole number of pavers, you may be able to save cost and time by not having to cut pavers. The paving calculator will give you a mathematically calculated number of pavers for an area, the full number of pavers for an area, and a smaller area which takes the paving area down to the next full paver size.

A handy rotate option is also provided so you can quickly compare the difference in cost and quantity of pavers required. The orientation of the pavers can make quite a difference to the cost.

For those who think the might just be able to put the pavers into the boot of their car, the cubic metres and weight of the pavers shows just how heavy the pavers can be. Much heavier than you'd think.

Hopefully others will find the paving calculator handy.

Kelvin Eldridge
http://www.PavingCalculator.com.au