Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Apple MacBook Air mini displayport to hdmi adaptor.

Most of us with computers need to purchase accessories, such as cables, every now and then. My MacBook Air (now a few years old) is an excellent computer. Very light and portable. The 11.8" screen most of the time isn't an issue. However sometimes I'd like to connect to a larger screen.

I already have an Apple TV (the older model) which works well for entertainment. But this time I wanted to connect to a larger monitor via HDMI. The Apple site has a Belkin 4K mini DisplayPort to HDMI adaptor for $49.95. We all know Apple's prices aren't the cheapest, so I decided to check eBay.

The item I purchased was a mini displayport to HDMI adaptor for $2.95. It works a treat. Does what I need and at $2.95 it's loose change and an easy decision. Of course you're always gambling when it comes to purchasing products on eBay. I've had some devices (not computer related) simply melt, so there is a risk. Most devices are OK, but you need to know your exposure and know your risk.

For example I purchased a SD card reader from the Apple store for $45, for a relatively new iPad Air 2, and for that device I wasn't prepared to take a risk. The Apple MacBook Air is over three years old, paid for itself, so for me there doesn't feel like there's much risk.

What's important is you know you have options.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

GST Calculator for Australian businesses.

The GST Calculator is available for Australian businesses to use when calculating GST. Whether you need to add GST, or to determine the GST component of the GST inclusive price, the GST Calculator is available for Australian usage.

A handy method to add the GST Calculator to your Desktop is to drag and drop the icon, which appears in the address bar of your browser to the left of the site address, to the Desktop. In Apple's Safari you first need to click on the site address for the address to be highlighted and then you can click and drag the icon. For Google Chrome you can click and drag the circled i, as thought it's an icon.

You can find the GST Calculator at www.AustralianGSTCalculator.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.AustralianGSTCalculator.com.au

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Apple iPhone iOS feature Wi-Fi Assist is turned on by default. You may wish to turn it off.

Recently I helped a person set up their new iPhone 6S. Yes, it's an older model now, but the 16GB model was being sold at a very good price.

When setting up an iPhone there's a number of settings I suggest people turn off until they know what those settings do. One feature that is a particular concern and is turned on by default, is Wi-Fi Assist.


Wi-Fi Assist lets the mobile phone use the often expensive and more limited mobile data allowance if Wi-Fi connectivity is poor. That's a really poor idea. If Wi-Fi isn't working, you really don't want to automatically start chewing through the more expensive mobile data. Turn the Wi-Fi Assist option off to avoid surprises with your mobile bill.

Will this really help. Perhaps. If Wi-Fi drops out and you have mobile data enabled, then your mobile phone is probably going to use the mobile data anyway. This for example may happen as you move away from the Wi-Fi access point. If your ISP service for you Wi-Fi access point however stops working, and you're still using the Wi-Fi access point, this is when you'd expect to lose access to the internet. Not convenient, but if you're watching a movie via Wi-Fi and the internet drops out, automatically switching to mobile data could consume quite a lot of data before you may even be notified by your ISP.

Do turn this option off, unless it's really what you want to do.

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Google Maps Share location feature now available

A while ago I read Google was launching the ability for people to share their location using Google Maps. Today this feature became available on my Android based mobile phone. A second mobile phone didn't have the feature. All that was required was to update Google Maps and the second mobile had the feature as well. You can find the feature in the menu by pressing the "Hamburger" or menu icon.


Previously one of the web apps I wrote provided this functionality, but Google's implementation is much better being integrated into Google Maps.

There's a number of reasons to use a feature like this. Parents can now have their children start this feature on their mobile phone and know when they're getting close. Want to let your other half know when you'll get home. Now they can watch your progress through the traffic. As a group of friends getting together, sharing your locations means everyone can see where everyone in the group is currently located. If you've ever wondered where someone was when you're waiting for them, now there's no need to wonder.

My favourite way to use such a s feature is to help a family member when they're stuck in traffic. Whilst they're focused on the traffic, I can look at the traffic on Google Maps and help determine a better route for them to take.

You can decide whether to share your location for a period of time or indefinitely.

You may find other useful ways to find this new feature.

TIP For better accuracy turn on your Wi-Fi. Google uses Wi-Fi access points around you to better locate where you are. The built-in GPS by itself is often too slow and your location can often be placed quite a distance from where you are actually located. Together, the GPS and Wi-Fi works better in built-up areas.

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Fake your GPS location on an Android mobile phone.

Your mobile device knows where you are because using a couple of techniques. The most obvious is the GPS capability built into most phones.

When developing web apps there have been times when it would have been easier if I could have simply made the mobile phone appear to be in another location. I can do that by changing the code, but that's code that doesn't need to exist in the application.

For some reason I decided to see if there was a way to fake the GPS location in the Android phone and it turns out there is and it's pretty easy to use.

First you need an app which will enable you to set your fake location and then you need to enable the developer features in your mobile phone and enable the option Allow mock locations.

First install the app from the Play Store called Fake GPS Location Spoofer Free. There are other apps but this one did what I wanted.

To turn on the developer options go into Settings -> About phone, and press on the Build number 7 times. Yes, you read correctly. Pressing the build number 7 times enables the developer options.

Go into Settings and scroll down and you'll see there is now a Developer options. Select Developer options.

Enable the Allow mock locations option.

Now open the Fake GPS Location Spoofer Free app, move the map to the location where you'd like to appear to be, or use the search feature, then double tap the location so a marker appears on the map.

To start the fake location press the Play button at the bottom right. Ads are shown in the app but that's OK.

Now if you go to an app or web page that uses your location, you'll appear to be at that location.

To stop the faking of the location go into the Fake GPS Location Spoofer Free app and press the Stop button at the bottom left.

I'd also suggest when you're not needing to use a fake location to turn off the Allow mock location option in the Developer options.

That's it, you can now have your mobile phone appear to be anywhere you want it to be.

For those nefarious types, some apps may give you some type of advantage if you are in a location, but keep in mind if there's a setting, it may be possible for apps to determine you're faking your location and you may be breaching their terms and conditions and you don't know what the consequences may be.

In my case I can use the fake location to better test web apps I write. Each day I enter the local petrol prices into my Petrol Prices Melbourne web app, so now when I'm away, I can more easily appear to be at home, which makes it easier to enter the petrol prices. Another web app I've written is Nearest Train Station app, which only works well if you're in the area. If I'm planning a trip for later in the day that doesn't work. Now I can easily appear to be in that location.

Once you know you can fake your location you may recognise useful opportunities to use this feature of Android phones.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, January 23, 2017

Nearest Train Station and Tram Stop web app now available.

As you know if you've been reading my blog, you'll know I write web apps for those things that interest me. I never know what the next web app will be, but when the idea and interest comes together, I create a web app. The apps help me and hopefully they'll help others.

I recently found the data for train station locations was available and whilst the train stations are shown on the map applications, because they're small they're often difficult to find, particularly if you don't know the area. I decided to put together a web app which would show me the train stations and in particular the nearest train stations. Hence the web app is called Nearest Train Station.

I then found the tram stop information was also available so decided to extend the web app to cover tram stops as well. I may further extend the web app to cover bus stops as well if I find this serves a need.

Now I have a convenient web app which will show me the nearest train stations and tram stops. I can then use the web app to open Google maps right at the station or stop. At that point I can use Google maps to provider train or tram timetable information.

The Nearest Train Station web app will hopefully make my life a little easier and hopefully it will assist you as well. You can find the Nearest Train Station web app at https://www.NearestTrainStation.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.NearestTrainStation.com.au

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Original Windows 10 release now reaching end-of-life on March 26, 2017

How times have changed. In the good old days you got your computer, or installed the updated Windows operating system and you'd many years of upgrades. That has now changed.

Microsoft is releasing updates more quickly and only supports the current two versions after a given period. Windows 10 came out in July 2015 (version 1507), next came Windows 10 Update (version 1511) in November 2015 and now we have Windows 10 Anniversary update (version 1607) released in August 2016. Basically a little over a year and the original version is no longer going to receive updates. To me that's a bit bizarre and many Windows users may not be aware.

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2017/01/19/windows-10-v1607-media-now-available/

There's no problem if you've continued to update your version of Windows, but some people may not have. If you haven't updated your version of Windows 10, it's now a good idea and time to consider updating your operating system.

The way I quickly tell which version of Windows 10 is on a computer is the following.

Windows 10 original. No power button on the full screen Start Menu at the top right.
Windows 10 Update. A power button on the full screen Start Menu at the top right. Also clicking the Start button now brings up a menu.
Windows 10 Anniversary. When pressing the Start button a pop-up menu appears with the tiles to the right and a column which is largely empty at the left. This column now has a power button.

Given that I wasn't aware of Microsoft's change of approach with more rapid releases, to making versions of their operating obsolete, I suspect many other people won't be as well. If you're thinking of the good old days, when a Windows operating system was released and about two to three years later a service pack came out, meaning two releases would be supported for many, many years, that approach by Microsoft has well and truly gone.

I summary, as best I can tell, the original release of Windows 10 will no longer be serviced (that is receive patches or security updates) on March 26, 2017. It is recommended anyone with the original release of Windows 10 to update to a more recent edition.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au