Wednesday, October 30, 2019

List of locations for videos added to the Speed Camera Locations site.

The Speed Camera Locations site is now being updated to provide a link to videos for the following locations. As time and opportunity permits it is hope to produce a video for each location.

Canterbury Road and Mitcham Road, Vermont
Cemetery Road West And Royal Parade, Parkville
Elgar Road And Arnold Street, Box Hill
Fitzroy Street And Lakeside Drive, St Kilda
Flinders Street And William Street, Melbourne
High Street And Verene Avenue, Templestowe Lower
Hoddle Street And Victoria Street, Abbotsford
Lonsdale Street And Webster Street, Dandenong
Manningham Road And Macedon Road, Templestowe Lower
Maroondah Highway and Mount Dandenong Road, Ringwood
Maroondah Highway and Ringwood Bypass, Ringwood
Maroondah Highway And Springvale Road, Nunawading
Middleborough Road And Eastern Freeway, Box Hill North
Peninsula Link Freeway, Frankston, Northbound, Skye Road BridgeP
Peninsula Link Freeway, Moorooduc, Northbound, Eramosa Road West Bridge
Peninsula Link Freeway, Moorooduc, Northbound, Loders Road Bridge
Ringwood Street And Maroondah Highway, Ringwood
Royal Parade And Gatehouse Street, Parkville
Springvale Road And Lower Dandenong Road, Braeside
Station Street And Thames Street, Box Hill
Stud Road And Ferntree Gully Road, Scoresby
Stud Road And Heatherton Road, Dandenong
Victoria Street And Doncaster Road, Doncaster
Warrigal Road And Batesford Road, Chadstone
Whitehorse Road And Elgar Road, Box Hill
Whitehorse Road And Surrey Road, Blackburn
Williamsons Road And Doncaster Road, Doncaster

Previously I announced by clicking on a speed camera, a detail page will be displayed and on that page is a direct link to the location using Google Street View. This is great for looking around the location. Now by adding videos people can also see from a driver's perspective what they see as they approach and leave an intersection, which has a red light camera/speed camera.

Kelvin Eldridge
Speed Camera Locations

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Free Victorian Seniors Card off-peak travel vouchers changing from 2020.

I received my free Victorian Seniors Card off-peak travel vouchers this year but this time there was a noticed included. From 2020 you need to register. This is pretty easy to do and only takes a few minutes.

The site to go to is

I've blogged about this because when I talk to others they're often not aware of their seniors' perks and this page will enable me to quickly provide the link.

I hope you find the link handy.

Kelvin Eldridge

Red light camera / speed camera at Boronia Road And Wantirna Road, Wantirna

The Speed Camera Locations site is now being updated to provide a link to a video for the location. It will take me a long time to produce a video for each location. The following is a link for:

Boronia Road And Wantirna Road, Wantirna

Previously I announced by clicking on a speed camera, a detail page will be displayed and on that page is a direct link to the location using Google Street View. This is great for looking around the location. Now by adding videos people can also see from a driver's perspective what they see as they approach and leave an intersection, which has a red light camera/speed camera.

Kelvin Eldridge
Speed Camera Locations

Woolworths Qantas points or Woolworths Rewards. Which is better?

Woolworths recently changed the conversion rate of Woolworths Rewards point to one Qantas point for two Woolworths Rewards points. So which is better value? Is it better to convert the Woolworths Rewards points to money off your shop, or is it better value to convert the points to Qantas points?

The value of Woolworths Rewards points is easy to calculate. For 2,000 Woolworths Rewards points you get $10 off your shopping.

If you wanted to you could even double the value of Woolworths Rewards points by only buying products that are half price meaning 2,000 Rewards point could potentially get you $20 worth of groceries.

How much is 1,000 Qantas points worth?

Working out how much Qantas points is worth is much harder. The fares for flights can vary considerably. You may even use Qantas points for upgrades or buying products from the Qantas store.

Let's check the value of buying products from the Qantas store.

Logging onto the Qantas store the first item shown was the Tefal UltraGlide Steam Iron for 14,780 points.

A search of Google gives the following prices. Keep in mind the online sites will probably charge postage.

ClearanceOutlet $58.90 $64.48
Billy Guyatts $62
The Goodguys $69.95

Worst case then the iron is worth around $70. At 14,780 points that gives us 1,000 Qantas points is worth around $4.74 or using Billy Guyatts price of $62, the value of 1,000 Qantas points is $4.19.

Selecting a second item I picked a Fitbit Charge 3. No particular reason except it's a product I recognise. The number of Qantas points required is 36,020.

Officeworks $168.00
Myer $179.00
Bing Lee Electronics $168.00

Using the above the value of Qantas points is from $4.66 to $4.96.

This gives us a guide that buying a product from the Qantas stores isn't good value as 1,000 points is worth $4 to $5. Better to spend it on groceries at $10 or better if spent on specials.

What about Qantas flights?

From the first page we see the following and then I checked the points for a long distance flight.

Melbourne to Sydney for 6,400 points plus $32.37.
Melbourne to Perth for 14,400 points plus $27.42.
Melbourne to London (Heathrow) for  55,200 points plus $199.

NOTE: Return flight taxes and charges are quite a bit higher at 212GBP (approx $398AUD).

The real problem with flights is there's such a range of prices and if you're paying with money you'll probably pick a cheaper flight, but with points the price doesn't change. Changing your day and luggage also can change prices. Qantas isn't the only airline so you have choice of cheaper options.

Let's take a flight over the next couple of days to each location.

Melbourne to Sydney Thursday 24/10/19
Cheapest Jetstar - $131 @ 5:35am
A more reasonable time plus luggage could cost $200-$300.

Melbourne to Perth
Cheapest Qantas - $350 @ 7:10am
A more reasonable time plus luggage could cost $400-$500.

Melbourne to London
Cheapest Virgin - $697 @ 8:00am
Other reasonable prices could range $800-$1,000.
However one way flights from London to Melbourne start at $1,333.

To make things easy lets take the cheapest flight option.

Melbourne to Sydney Jetstar @ $131. That means a 1,000 Qantas points is worth $15.41. That's good as it's better than the $10 for Woolworths Rewards. It only gets better as the prices for flights go up.

Melbourne to Perth Qantas @ $350. That means a 1,000 Qantas points is worth $22.40. Again better than Woolworths Rewards points.

Melbourne to London Virgin at $697. That means a 1,000 Qantas points is worth $9.02. For the return flight 1,000 Qantas points is worth $16.93. Given these are the lowest prices, using Qantas points for long distance flights is looking better than Woolworths Rewards.

Overall using Qantas points for flights is looking better than using Woolworths Rewards points for groceries. I have to admit that was something I didn't expect especially as you have to pay money as well as use points using Qantas Classic Rewards.

This doesn't take into account whether or not you can get a flight sometime around when you want to fly.

The other thing to consider is how long it will take you to build up points. We purchase around $100-$150 a week in groceries. That's $5,000-$7,500 a year. With one point for each dollar spent that's potentially 5,000-7,500 Woolworths Rewards points a year or 2,500 to 3,750 Qantas points. Not even a one way trip to Sydney. That's pretty sad. About two years to get a one way trip to Sydney. Perhaps best to stick with buying half price specials, at least I'd get that reward up to four times a year.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Speed Camera Locations site updated to link to Google Street View for red light camera and speed camera locations

Let's face it, most of us make minor mistakes on the road and the ones we notice the most is when we get fined. Ouch. It really hurts to have to pay and often we don't even know what we've done wrong.

I've been caught out once with an unusual school zone that ended at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. Luckily I was travelling at 45 km/h or otherwise it could have been a very costly mistake. A mistake that costs others millions each year at the same intersection.

Another costly and common mistake are turn arrows on higher speed roads. Few people realise the timing on the turn arrows is much shorter than if going straight ahead and people are required to brake harder on many turn arrows when lights start to change, than on lanes going straight ahead. One can't help feel this is revenue raising as all it takes is to make the amber turn light last as long as the amber light for going straight ahead lane and many people would not get booked. I read once for every half a second the amber is reduced increases the number of bookings by 50%. Since amber turn arrows can be around 1.5 seconds shorter than straight through lanes and people are travelling much slower, it's very easy to get booked when turning. The real irony is when people brake because the light changes to amber they actually increase their risk of getting booked significantly as they now take longer to enter the intersection. Of course many people push the boundaries when turning as well.

When you've received a red light camera or speeding camera fine it's often handy to be able to easily check the location and Google Street View enables you to closely examine the location. Sometimes checking the location can help you see what you may have done wrong. Knowing what you've done wrong and why, can help make sure you don't make the same mistake again.

The Speed Camera Locations site shows the majority of red light cameras and speed cameras around Victoria. When you click on a camera icon you'll go to the details screen which provides further information. I've now added Google Street View as an option so you can easily view the intersection.

It should be noted the location is an average where there's a couple of red light/speed cameras in the same section of road, such as lanes going straight ahead covered by one camera and lanes turning covered by another camera. This was done to provide a better indication of the total value of fines for all cameras in a section of road. In the future I hope to update the Speed Camera Locations site with the individual camera locations. This will help in proving a better location and provide options for further development of the site.

I hope you find the update of including Google Street View handy.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry High Tea online booking system error shows cost of failing online system.

A person contacted me letting me know they couldn't book the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry High Tea for Sunday at 2pm. Perhaps it was their debit card so I decided to use my credit card in case that was the problem.

I also received the following error message.

That got me thinking, at $330 for six people that's a lot of business lost as a result of their computer system. I decided to let them know their system was failing using their online form. That also failed with a reCAPTCHA error message even though the reCAPTCHA feature (where you enter letters or numbers to show you're human) wasn't displaying.

It makes you wonder just how much business is lost as a result of failing or faulty systems.

Apart from the spelling error in the error message, it does make me wonder if perhaps they shouldn't provide a phone number in the error message people can call if their system isn't working. That might help retain some business.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support

Update: 22/10/2019
Calls to the telephone number to the book the high tea were also not answered on the Sunday morning. Had a good day at Arthurs Seat instead. Great views and good to try the new chairlift.

Petrol prices Melbourne petrol price hike.

Last Thursday I noticed the petrol prices around Melbourne had started to increase to the higher price of 173.9 for unleaded fuel. As of today around 40% of petrol stations have increased their prices.

The average gate price (think wholesale) was 136.6 cents per litre. The price hike is in the expected range of 35-40 cents above the average gate price. The lowest prices around Melbourne dropped quite a bit below the 136.6 down to under the 130 mark.

There's still around 60% of petrol stations yet to have increased their petrol prices.

I noticed a number of petrol stations around Bayswater that have prices under the 130 mark and since I'll be going down the Eastern Freeway I'm hoping to be able to lock in a better price using the 7/11 Fuel app. The good thing about the 7/11 Fuel app is you can lock in a better price than your local area whilst travelling and then use that lower price in around a week's time when prices are much higher. In my case I've only used around a quarter of a tank so filling up in a week's time would be a good time for me. The 7/11 prices around Bayswater are better than the local prices around my, area even with the discount vouchers.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Aldi Onix dashcam a waste of money.

A dashcam can be very handy. When there's an event that's happened you can go back and review the event. However, that doesn't work with the Aldi Onix dashcam because when it deletes older files to make more room, it doesn't delete the oldest first as expected. In fact you'll find there doesn't appear to be any logic to which files are deleted.

The following is a list of files on the SD card in the Aldi dashcam today.

I was interested in the recordings for the 23rd of September 2019. As you can see there's only one recording for a single journey. On that day there were three journeys with perhaps more recordings as recordings are for a time slice of five minutes and not the entire single journey.

Just to make sure the dashcam is recording all of the trip, I checked today's journeys and all of the journeys were recorded, so there's no reason to feel the dashcam isn't recording the journeys.

For the previous day not all the journeys had been recorded. Some at the beginning of the day had been deleted.

I think we'd all expect older recordings would be deleted first to make room for new recordings, but this isn't happening with the Aldi Onix dashcam.

A second issue (although not as important) is the packaging for the Aldi Onix dashcam has a clear night-time picture on the box. The Aldi Onyx dashcam has no ability to take night-time pictures. A night time feature isn't mentioned on the box but the packaging could mislead people to think the dashcam can work at night. It does work at night, but you don't get anything you could use.

A third issue which is very important is the quality of the images. A car in a shopping centre damaged the side of my car when it left. I had the number plate details of the car caught on the dashcam, but the quality was so poor number plate was not able to be read.

In hindsight, at the time of buying I felt the Aldi Onix dashcam was good value. However, if the dashcam doesn't provide what you need when it's needed, then really it isn't very good.

I'd suggest giving the Aldi Onix dashcam a miss.

Kelvin Eldridge