Monday, December 19, 2011

MyAnswers: Google Samsung Nexus S available online for $269.

The following MyAnswers solution 2188 is now available:

Google Nexus S available online for $269.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

MyAnswers: Brother all-in-one unit MFC-885CW shows NO CARTRIDGE.

The following MyAnswers solution 2187 is now available:

Brother all-in-one unit MFC-885CW shows NO CARTRIDGE on the display even though there is a cartridge installed.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Friday, December 16, 2011


I received a number of copies of an email with the subject Daily Deal - APPLE IPHONE 4S BLACK 64GB 24CT GOLD PLATED.  These emails are fake and should be deleted.

What is interesting about this fake email is that nearly all the links in the email are links to eBay. If you check links before visiting the site to see if the advertisement is legitimate this could trick some people. You need to check all the links and in particular the link you use. The email is well formed and looks like and eBay email which could trick a number of people.

The emails were sent from Italy and the suspect links resolve to an Italian domain.

Take care in the run up to Christmas and the subsequent sales period. A bargain too good to be true probably is.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Flash Player Upgrade required" message when in Facebook. - MyAnswers

The following MyAnswers solution 2186 is now available:

"Flash Player Upgrade required" message when in Facebook. I've installed the Flash upgrade. Every time I restart the computer I have to upgrade Flash again as I get the same message. I'm using Windows Vista.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

HP webOS to become open source.

Today I read HP were to open source their webOS operating system. This is now the last step (or perhaps the next step) in the evolution of the Palm operating system. It will be interesting to see what happens with webOS in the future.

HP today announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community
.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems.
No problem too small.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dodo Buddy Box. Low cost landline too good to believe.

I’ve now completed my trials of the Dodo Buddy Box over a period of a couple of months. Those interested in purchasing a Dodo Buddy Box would benefit from reading MyAnswers solution 2168.

The Dodo Buddy Box offers the promise of a low cost landline for home users and at $9.90 a month including $10 worth of calls it really is a great offer. But the question is, “is it too good to be true?”

I purchased the Dodo Buddy Box and decided to share my experiences and my testing. A landline for $9.90 a month would suit many young people and could save them a great deal of money compared to using a mobile phone as the Dodo Buddy Box provides fixed cost local calls.

For those interested check out MyAnswers solution 2168.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alert: Mercury Exposure. DONT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY

I received an email from a family member who had received the email from another family member. The subject was Mercury Exposure and the email contained two PDF files (Mercury Exposure.pdf and Health & Safety Warning – energy saving bulbs.pdf).

The email is a hoax designed to trick people to send it on.

Before sending on emails like this it is a good idea to search the internet to check whether it is a hoax or not. The problem is people receive this information from a trusted friend and believe it to be true. You owe it to the people you know to check the validity of the information before sending it on. It only takes a moment with a Google search on key phrases in the email to determine it is a hoax.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Apple releases iTunes 10.5.1 with Match

It would appear the Apple iTunes Match feature is very near at least of users in America. From this CNET article we can see the Match service was released for a short while and then removed.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5.1 with Match feature... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems.
No problem too small.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Alert: Decrapifier mentioned on radio recently caused computer to stop working and constantly reboot.

I recently attended a client who had heard on a radio station about a decrapifier program which could clean up their computer. They downloaded and ran their computer. As a result, when the computer restarted it would constantly reboot. There was no way to run Safe mode because selecting any option would reboot the computer.

I’d highly recommend that you do not risk using one of these programs. It is very easy to clean up your computer manually and there is less risk of a problem.

It took many hours to get this computer up and running again. I use techniques not generally known by an average user. I prefer to fix a computer if I can, because often there is important data on the computer the person would prefer to save such as their photographs, data and documents. In this situation the cost effective approach would normally be to reinstall the operating system but that could mean loss of data.

Do keep in mind when you’re listening to radio, watching TV, or reading newspaper articles, those presenting the information have a job to present the information and in most cases won’t be running a computer support business. It is very easy to read and report on information and new programs, but working with and living with those programs is where you find out what works and what doesn’t work.

As another example, one of my clients heard on radio about a site which they visited. They ended up infecting their computer with malware which displayed pornographic material. That wasn’t a good outcome for the office and took a number of hours to fix.

Be careful of the advice you receive from the general media. In general it is good information and I believe no harm would ever be intended, but well meaning advice doesn’t always end up with a good outcome.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, November 7, 2011

Today I was blog spammed by Function Rooms Melbourne

I thought I’d share what I think is becoming an epidemic on the internet and it is blog spam. Email spam is now illegal, but blog spamming isn’t. It may not be appropriate, and to a degree, most of us at one stage or another will blog spam by writing an article on a site which has a link back to our own site. We give to get a little and generally both parties are benefiting. The comment is legitimate because you’ve read the article and want to add value to the site by adding your information. In return the site appreciates the extra input and is happy to give some link love to the contributor. A win-win for both parties.

But what I suspect is now happening is people are purchasing article marketing programs which submit a generic article to hundreds or thousands of web sites automatically. The aim is to get more links so Google will raise the importance of the person’s site so they get more business. As a business strategy this is a good move, but is it right to post rubbish on others’ sites for your own benefit. I don’t think it is. The means does not always justify the end.

Google was built on the principle of the importance of a site was based on the number of sites linking to the site and in the early days of the internet that was a good strategy. For example Adobe’s site scores a 10 out of 10 in terms of PageRank (Google’s measure of importance) because so many people use Acrobat Reader and link to Adobe’s site so people can easily download and install the software.

Now however, the importance of a site if links are used, is only as good a someone purchasing a program and then spamming thousands of other sites. Blog spamming is possible, it isn’t illegal, but is it a good business methodology and in my opinion it isn’t. If a business uses inappropriate techniques it reflects on the ethics of the business. Just because something can be done it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be.

Right now I am looking for a function room, but I wouldn’t even consider Function Rooms Melbourne because of their approach to business.

Just as interesting when I checked their site, every comment on their site was blog spam. When I see a site with a lot of blog spam I consider that business to lack quality control.

If you’re considering automatically posting articles to sites using an article marketing robot or similar technique, ask yourself how will that reflect on your business. There are a lot of cowboys in the internet market who are prepared to make money and that could be at the expense of your business reputation. Be careful.

If you have a site, turn off the automatic acceptance of comments and review the comments. Most comments now are blog spam. In the past people didn’t know about blog spam so they saw lots of comments as a sign of activity. Now if you see lots of activity which is blog spam, it indicates the comments don’t have any value, even the legitimate ones.

Kelvin Eldridge   

Friday, November 4, 2011

Alert: Virgin Mobile - Issue found and fixed.

I regularly receive and malicious emails advise readers. One form of a malicious email is an email which comes from a well known company. The email looks legitimate because it is can be a very good copy of a legitimate email that has been sent out by the company. The very good copies are almost impossible to distinguish from the original. The links in the email usually give the fake email away as they take people to a site which looks like the company, but is a slightly different domain name. A small change tricks many people into revealing their username and password details.

Today I received an email which is most likely from Virgin Mobile, but what looks suspicious is the links in the email don’t go directly to the Virgin Mobile site. They go via a site that appears unrelated. I suspect the site is a marketing site, where if you click on the link they can measure who clicked and then track that person. But is isn’t a Virgin Mobile site. If you follow the link you’ll then be redirected to the Virgin site.

I consider this to be bad form for a large company like Virgin. Given the large number of people who are tricked into revealing their details there is no reason to provide a link. People can be advised to go to the site which can be provided as straight text for people to copy and paste into their browser.

The following is the start of the email.

Hi Kelvin,

Our technical team has recently corrected an error in your service which may have caused some of your data to expire a day or two before its due date.

As an apology for the error and as a gesture of goodwill, we're going to add 300MB of data to your account.

Now given I’m on a yearly data plan and it is many months before my plan expires, this really is a suspicious email. In addition I did have a problem with Virgin Mobile. I updated my details so all communication would go to my email address and not a Virgin email address. The problem is this doesn’t apply to your data usage. I thought I’d be advised when the first months data was expiring but those emails didn’t go to the address I provided and I lost a couple of gigabytes of data. Now I’m receiving an email which doesn’t appear to be related to my plan so it really does feel suspicious. The only way I can check is to call their customer service, who when I called last time to provide constructive feedback to help Virgin I was treated quite abruptly, so I really don’t want to spent the time waiting on the line to get treated poorly  again.

I highly recommend that if you do receive an email from Virgin Mobile, or any other company, and in particular when it requires you to enter a username and password, don’t click on a link in the email. Open your browser and enter the web site address. If you do that you can’t be tricked by the scammers.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Opera Mini 6.5 now available for the Apple iPhone.

Yesterday I installed the update to Opera for the Apple iPhone. Even though I don’t use it much, there are times when pages do not display correctly in Safari and in those cases I’ve found Opera to be very handy. Another neat feature is Opera compresses data and it shows you how much data you’ve saved using their servers. If you need to watch your data allowance this may be a good way to save quite a few megabytes whilst browsing. This Opera update initially didn’t display some pages correctly for me so you need to check the settings.

I also share my notes with others via the MyAnswers web site ( and when I enter another MyAnswers solution, I publish a blog entry on the MyAnswers blog to let people know of the new solution. With over 2,000 solutions MyAnswers is a wealth of knowledge I use nearly every day to assist my clients. The solutions are made available to the public for a small charge.

Kelvin Eldridge


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Is American spelling causing you a problem in Microsoft Office, Word or Outlook?

Many people mention they have a problem with American spelling in their documents. I’ve heard of lecturers frowning on students using American spelling, from a number of people attending different tertiary institutions.

The problem isn’t the spelling, it is that most people assume that spelling words with “ize” is using the American spelling. In Australia we have the unusual situation where we have two or more ways to spell thousands of words. For example “organise” and “organize” are both correct in Australia. However the preferred spelling is “organise” and if you use “organize”, people will often consider the spelling is wrong.

It is now very easy to use the preferred Australian English spelling with the Exclude file I make available for Word 2003, Outlook 2003, Office 2007 and Office 2010 (which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access). The Exclude file marks thousands of words as incorrect spelling so you can easily use the preferred spelling, which also has the advantage of resulting in consistent spelling in your documents.

For more information visit the Microsoft Exclude page.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping Australians one word at a time.

Alert: Facebook app Pink Your Profile being a virus is a hoax.

A person said to me they'd been told they were concerned they’d installed a virus into their iPod Touch by running a Pink Your Profile app. I investigated this and found this was a hoax. The Pink Your Profile app appears to have been a legitimate app from CUA (Credit Union Australia) to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

My initial thought was the person had run the app on their iPod Touch and it was very unlikely this would be a virus. Performing a search on the internet found the following page on the Hoax Slayer confirming this was a hoax.

Hoax - Facebook 'Add Pink Tinge to Your Profile' Virus Warning... Read More

If you are told about a virus I suggest that before telling others, that you first do a search on the internet. In addition, be careful of the sites you visit as part of your investigation because they could be malware sites set up to trick you. A number of clients now send requests to check out a suspicious email when they’re concerned.

A hoax like this is usually little more than a nuisance. But it is possible if people were to believe the hoax, that they may end up paying to have someone check their computer when in fact there was no need to incur the cost. If you receive a suspicious email, before letting your family and friends know please take a moment to do a little research. If you don’t you may end up causing unwanted and unnecessary stress, or even an unnecessary repair cost.

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems.
No problem too small.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog comment spam

Every day I receive comments on my blogs from spammers which I delete before my readers also end up being spammed. I received the following comment which I thought I’d share.

Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme. Thanks <link to site removed>

I see a lot of people who start a blog, share this type of comment with their readers without realising they’ve been blog spammed.

A compliment is often used to make people feel good about their blog and thus they accept the comment on their blog. I suspect a lot of those writing blogs also leave their blogs completely open for anyone to post a comment. I’m finding, at a guess, possibly up to 95 per cent of comments on blogs are spam. The aim of the comments is to either gain a greater presence in Google with links to a site, or to have people click on a link and visit the site.


I decided to check this comment and see how often it had been posted on blogs. To do this I chose a reasonable portion of the comment (Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?), placed quotes around this text and performed a search using Google.

For search results from Australia, there were 2,890 results returned, and for results from the web, there were 487,000 results returned.

This is just one example of blog spam. Nearly half a million blogs have been spammed with just this one message. If you think about the number of spam blog comments occurring across the internet this is a massive problem.

To avoid this issue bloggers should think about removing automatic approval of comments on their blogs and to review comments before releasing them. If bloggers make it harder for spammers this avenue won’t be attractive to spammers and this will make it easier for all bloggers.

If you think it doesn’t matter, I recently clicked on a blog spam comment which had an address to a site in Australia, this immediately redirected me to a site in India, which then immediately redirected me to a site in Russia.  I didn’t wait to see what the result was going to be but I have no doubt the intent was malicious. Blog comment spam may contain a link to malware.

If you run a blog, please consider removing automatic posting of comments.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping small businesses with their computers and internet presence.

Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710 announced

Nokia World 2011 is underway in the UK. Nokia have announced two Windows Phone 7.5 devices, the Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710.

The press release is available at the following site.

I found it interesting Australia does not appear in the list of six countries for the initial release, or even the second group of countries, but we'll most likely see the devices sometime in 2012.

I recently went into a couple of Telstra stores to check out the latest version of Microsoft Phone 7.5 and all that was available were a couple of old devices. I still haven't been able to check out the upgraded operating system. That's not a good sign for Microsoft in Australia.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Repco GearUP USB Car Charger Kit Universal gets the thumbs down.

Recently I purchased a Repco GearUP USB Car Charger Kit Universal which is a USB car charger kit which plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter and has two USB sockets for charging. Normally I stick with products I can purchase from my suppliers, but in this case because of the low value of the item, I decided to purchase one of these units on special for $9.99, reduced to half price.

I plugged the cable provided into my iPhone and the adaptor into a portable 12V battery designed to jump start a car and also provide power to accessories plus a number of other features. To my surprise and disappointment the iPhone 3GS reported it wouldn’t work with the device. I then plugged in the cable which came with the iPhone and it worked. Next I decided since it was a dual USB charger to plug in the iPhone 3GS and an Android mobile phone and charge both at the same time. Instead of the iPhone being charged, it was still losing power over time, whilst the Android phone did start to charge. I worked out you can only charge one device at a time.

It wasn’t worth the trip half way across Melbourne to where I purchased the unit, so like many people who purchase products that don’t live up to expectation, this one will probably end up in a draw and I’ll purchase a reputable product through my computer suppliers.

I didn’t expect to receive what I’d consider a substandard product from Repco, so I didn’t mind taking a chance. But from now on I’ll stick with the products I know and trust.

How many computer related devices have you purchased that don’t measure up to your expectation and end up in the draw?

At Online Connections I generally stick to devices and brands which have proven themselves across my client base over time. Often that doesn’t mean paying more. A good product can cost the same as a poor product. Marketers will often use the line “you get what you pay for” to encourage you to buy a particular product. To me what is important is the product proves itself in the field. Those are the products I’ll recommend to clients.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require assistance with your computer.
Serving Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Google Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) announced.

I read the following announcement (Samsung Galaxy Nexus ... Read More) on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus with the latest version of Android 4 and can’t help wonder what that means for the stocks being held of current Android mobile phones. I’ve noticed a number of Android based mobile phones being sold are based on Android 2.1. Even the new Amazon Kindle Fire is based on a fork of Android 2.3.

If you’re considering an Android mobile phone keep in mind the version number. I’d suggest avoiding Android 2.1 and prior mobile devices. Android 2.2 for me meant Skype worked and Android 2.3 I believe is when they brought out the quite useful hotspot feature. It really is hard to keep up with the frequent and small changes. I know a person who purchase a new Android mobile to end up with Android 1.6 and since they wanted to use Skype, they weren’t able to.

Android 4 is the version which purportedly brings the mobile phone and the tablet operating systems back into a single operating system.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is being released in parts of the world in November. That is quite a way from the Christmas buying season, so there is still plenty of time for new devices to hit the market.

The most important thing is to make a note of the version of the Android operating and make sure it has the features you want for your needs.

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems.
No problem too small.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MyAnswers: Facebook app doesn't work after upgrading Apple iPhone 4 to iOS 5.

The following MyAnswers solution 2180 is now available:

I upgraded my Apple iPhone 4 to iOS 5. Now when I go to click on Facebook it does nothing and I can't get Facebook to work. What can I do?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

MyAnswers: I'm worried my computer is about to die. How do I back up my Outlook data?

The following MyAnswers solution 2177 is now available:

I'm worried my computer is about to die. How do I back up my Outlook data?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: What's the best simple database for contact to use? Outlook or Excel.

The following MyAnswers solution 2176 is now available:

What's the best simple database for contact to use? I have access to Outlook and Excel.

Click here to obtain the solution.

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Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: Add business to Google Places. Nothing happens with Find Business Information.

The following MyAnswers solution 2175 is now available:

When I try to add my business in Google Places I enter the country, my telephone number and then click on Find Business Information and nothing happens. I can't get past the Find Business Information screen.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

MyAnswers: Acer One netbook A150 wireless connects to wireless network but doesn't work.

The following MyAnswers solution 2173 is now available:

Acer One netbook A150 wireless connects to wireless network but doesn't work.

Click here to obtain the solution.

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Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

MyAnswers: A list of articles on iOS 5

The following MyAnswers solution 2172 is now available:

A list of articles on iOS 5 I've found on the internet which I felt may be useful to others.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

MyAnswers: Notes on the Applie iOS 5 operating system used on an Apple iPhone 3GS.

The following MyAnswers solution 2171 is now available:

Notes on the Applie iOS 5 operating system used on an Apple iPhone 3GS.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Apple iPhone 3GS iOS 5 update failed. The iPhone could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (3200)

I’ve been running the iOS 5 update which is now available. Unfortunately after nearly an hour the update failed and I needed to start again. The message I received was something along the lines of Apple iPhone could not be restored at this time because server could not be contacted. I had to laugh. I always say to users to record the error message and I didn’t record the exact details to share with others. The following is the message when it occurred a second time.

I then ran the update again and whilst the backup process takes some time, at least the download wasn’t required again.

Then I received the error message The iPhone <my iphone> could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (3200).

Looks like this is going to be a long update.

I’m sharing this update experience because this is what happens in the real world. Often a task for a client which should take perhaps an hour, can balloon out. It isn’t the client’s fault. What I do undertake is I’ll do my best, no matter what it takes. So far this update has taken around two and a half hours, plus the previous time to update to iTunes 10.5 and still isn’t complete.

I suspect a potential issue will be the load on the Apple servers at this time may cause issues. For those not in a hurry to update, waiting until the load reduces is a good idea.

Back to the update.
Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
No problem to small.

iMessage is the interesting new feature of Apple's iOS 5

There are around 200 changes with the iOS 5 update and a couple caught my eye. The first will be iMessage. iMessage has the ability to reduce the cost of messaging other iPhone and Touch users which is good, but being limited to only Apple products means it won’t be as useful as it could be.

The other feature I’m interested in is the ability to create a keyboard shortcut for frequently used words. Now if that allows me to create a shortcut for my email addresses, that will be a handy addition.

What’s your favourite new feature?

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if your require help with your computer or mobile device.
No problem too small.


iOS5 release date for Australia. iOS 5 is now available for download. Downloading iOS5 has begun

The Apple iOS 5 update for iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S), iPad, iPad 2, iPod Touch 3rd and 4rth generation is now available. Downloading appears to have started around 5 hours ago, which would have been 9am Pacific Time, or 3am in Melbourne, Australia.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require assistance with your computer.
No problem too small.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MyAnswers: Upgrading to Apple iTunes 10.5 failed on Apple Software Update 2.1.3.

The following MyAnswers solution 2170 is now available:

Upgrading to Apple iTunes 10.5 failed on Apple Software Update 2.1.3.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Opera Mini 6.5 released

Opera have just announced the release of Opera Mini 6.5. This will be available soon on Android and in time on the Apple iPhone.

More information is available on the following page.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?

The Sandy Bridge range of processors is the current line of processors promoted by Intel. I read this article and felt it may be useful to others. The interesting tip I got out of this article was to watch out for computers built using the Core i5-661. The i5 has four cores except the i5-661 has only two. Whilst this article might not make it easier to buy a computer, at least you’ll know the differences between the i3, i5 and i7 CPUs.

Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs have been around for over a year now, but some buyers still get stumped whenever they attempt to build their own systems and are forced to choose among the three.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems
No problem too small.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A brief summary of JustLocal for Templestowe residents and businesses.

I wanted to share with others in Templestowe what JustLocal is about. I’m a computer consultant with a large amount of expertise across a range of computer related disciplines. I find the best way to show others is by example.

What I did is what anyone with a small amount of assistance can do. The difference between myself and others is I assist people and charge for my time. I share my knowledge so people aren’t tied to myself or my services. My hope is that by looking after their interests they’ll appreciate the services I offer. I’ve found it to be an approach which works well because others don’t work that way.

To  explain JustLocal for residents and businesses in Templestowe, I decided to build a web page. For any business this is very easy to do. If you can design a single page brochure to promote your business, your brochure can be reproduced with minimal time and cost as a web site to let others in your area know your business exists.

In this case I decided to register the domain for, set up hosting space, point the domain at the hosting space, create a web page and then upload the web page. In a couple of hours the page was live on the internet. I literally just set this up and it is live within minutes. You should however wait usually 24 hours to make sure the domain has filtered through the internet.

I have a number of low cost approaches I can show people how to set up a presence on the internet. Some approaches they can maintain themselves with minimal technical skills. All that is required is some basic training and some support when required. Other approaches require a little more training and some software.

With some basic training and support you can literally have a web presence up within 24 hours and your only out-of-pocket cost could be the domain, which costs around $10-$30 a year depending on the domain you wish to use.

I’d encourage every small business to get a presence on the internet. It looks so much more professional to send out emails for a business using (or than or By using a domain every email you send out helps promote your business. I find people do check out your web site based on your email address.

A lot of people put thousands into a web presence and the only business that makes money is the web developer. I believe people should start small and as your investment generates business for you, then reinvest some of that money and evolve your presence.

If you don’t have a web presence and want something to get you started give me a call. My aim is to use my skills to help others cost effectively promote their business on the internet.

If you just wish to read a little more about JustLocal then visit

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you’re local require assistance with a web presence.

Comparison of the Apple iPhone 4 versus the Apple iPhone 4S

I felt the following article comparing the specifications of the Apple iPhone 4 to the Apple iPhone 4S was quite good and may be useful to others.

iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 4S... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems

Apple iPhone 4S, iOS 5 and iCloud press release, no iPhone 5.

The Apple iPhone 4S launch has now been held and I’m sure most people will be surprised to hear there was no iPhone 5 launched today. When you sit back and think about it, it makes sense the Apple iPhone 4S is an incremental update to the iPhone 4. The following is a link to the Apple press release.

iPhone 4S Features Dual-Core A5 Chip, All New Camera, Full 1080p HD Video Recording & Introduces Siri ... Read More

According to the press release, the Apple iPhone 4S will be available in Australia from Friday October 14th. The iOS 5 software  will be available on October 12th for iPhone, iPad and Touch customers.

Except, and I suppose it is a pretty big except, except for there being no iPhone 5, there wasn’t really much of a surprise in the announcement with much of what was announced being announced earlier in the WWDC 2011 (World Wide Developer Conference) held in June. The updated iPhone 4S contains the type of update you’d expect in terms of processor and camera improvements.

Since LTE (4G) is not yet established, I tend to feel we’ll see LTE in iPhone 5 and perhaps NFC. These are technologies that will become more prevalent next year and it makes sense to include the technology when it is mainstream.

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple iPhone 5 release announcement Australian time

The Apple iPhone 5 announcement is to be held at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino at 10am on October 4. For others in Australia interested, this is 4am Melbourne time.

I purchased an iPhone 3GS because at the time it had the best browser, but I find the limitation of the Upload button being disabled to be one of my biggest issues which puts me off continuing in the future with an iPhone. For me the best smartphone will be the smartphone with the best browser with the least number of restrictions.

With the Apple iPhone 5 announcement I suspect the release of iOS 5 for previous iPhones will also be announced. I’m looking forward to seeing what has changed. The iMessage application looks interesting and there are a few other features which will be interesting to use.

Only a little over four hours and we’ll all know a lot more.

As a caution, do keep in mind if you only use a 3G data plan, upgrading iOS could easily cause you to exceed your limit and cause bill shock. I spoke with the local Apple store a while ago and the staff didn’t think it would be an issue to upgrade using their free wireless access. You should check first and make sure it is OK.

Until tomorrow.

Kelvin Eldridge
Providing help with PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

Monday, October 3, 2011

MyAnswers: How to turn off the sound on Apple 3GS iPhone until the alarm goes off.

The following MyAnswers solution 2164 is now available:

I'm wondering if there's a way to turn off the sound on my phone (Apple 3GS iPhone) until the alarm goes off.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Google Chrome (PWS:Win32Zbot) treated as a virus by Microsoft (MS) Security Essentials is a false positive

I read reports, that overnight users were having their Google Chrome browser blocked or removed from their computer by Microsoft Security Essentials. An update to MS Security Essential incorrectly treated the Chrome browser as a virus. You can read more from the Microsoft site here.

I don’t have Google Chrome installed on my computer so I didn’t experience the issue.

I would suggest forcing an update of Microsoft Security Essentials as soon as you start your computer. I’ve verified the update the fixes this issue will be installed.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you need assistance with your computers.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Best antivirus. Virus removal. Antivir, Virus scanner

A fairly common problem I get calls for is the removal of malware from a computer. I ask people how they received the virus and in a lot of cases they don’t know. In the past I found the infection was an email attachment, but more recently the infection has not been associated with an email.

One customer was tricked into thinking their computer was infected when a pop-up message appeared as they were browsing the internet. They went ahead and paid their money to have the problem removed, which in turn actually infected their computer and provided the scammer with their credit card details. Pretty scary stuff really.

I thought I’d share this article which shows that around 85% of infections are now caused when browsing and of the 85% just five programs result in 99.98% of infections. If the information is correct it means all people need to do is keep five programs up-to-date and that could significantly reduce their chances of being infected. Unfortunately whilst that sounds logical it isn’t. This will help with malware which isn’t new, but new malware will find exploits in programs which have not yet been patched so people are still exposed. The lesson here however is keep the programs updated if they’re installed on your computer.

The programs are:  Java JRE, Adobe Reader/Acrobat, Adobe Flash, MS Internet Explorer, Windows HCP (Help) and Apple Quicktime. The first three account for 85% of abuses by malware. Interestingly Internet Explorer is only 10%. Just applying the updates for five software packages when they are ready may reduce your chances of being infected considerably.

For clients how want to feel more protected, I provide a disk which is based on software made available to American soldiers. The software allows you to boot your computer from the disk and protects your computer from being infected. This is a great option for those who are worried their computer may be infected but still want to do their online banking or pay bills. Great for those who are travelling and would like to connect to the internet on a family member or friend’s computer, but are concerned that it may be infected. Great if you want your children to be able to use the computer but not risk infecting it. Great if you want staff to use a work computer and not risk infecting it. If clients need a disk contact me. There is a small distribution fee of $9.95 plus postage if required.

It now makes more sense why people don’t know how they infected their computer. The flaws in unpatched software enable people to infect their computer just by visiting a site on the internet. It has happened to me. I once searched using Google, went to a site, and the site infected the computer using a vulnerability in Internet Explorer SP1. That vulnerability was patched in Internet Explorer SP2.

What is also interesting is a lot of people push alternate browsers in the belief they somehow provide a greater level of protection. From the article this doesn’t appear to be the case. Based on the percentage use people using browsers to the percentage being infected, it appears to be fairly consistent across the browsers. The other browsers will most likely be exposed to the same issues because they use the same applications. You shouldn’t necessarily think that changing your browser will give you any greater level of protection. You’re most likely better off making sure your software is kept as up-to-date as possible.

Another more drastic approach might be to also disable or even remove the programs giving you the greatest exposure. I wouldn’t like to suggest that because of lost functionality. That would have to be a choice each person makes for themselves. For example I don’t have Java JRE installed on my computer and haven’t noticed any issues for a long time. When it was installed I did notice quite a few infections in the cache which was a concern. Doing without Acrobat Reader would be hard and a lot of sites still use Flash. Both Flash and Adobe Reader can be fairly easily disabled until you need them, so that is an approach which could be used.

Whether we like it or not, when we are on the internet there are a lot of people who have a lot to gain by infecting our computers. We need to make decisions and take action which minimises our risk to an acceptable level.

If you’ve infected your computer and live within 10kms of the Doncaster/Templestowe/Eltham area and need assistance, you can contact me on 0415 910 703. As part of cleaning customers’ computers I also install free antivirus software which I’ve tested for over a week that has shown to be better than other common free software and also the commercial software I’ve tested.

Kelvin Eldridge

MyAnswers: Thoughts and notes on the Amazon Kindle Fire.

The following MyAnswers solution 2163 is now available:

Thoughts and notes on the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alert: Incorrectly filled tax form NAT3799 from

I’ve received a number of emails lately which have been faked to appear to be from the ATO. I’d recommend you delete these emails.

What is particularly interesting with these emails is who the emails are addressed to. When I check the To and CC fields they contain a number of my emails address that I use publicly. Not just one, but a number. That is the first time I’ve seen anyone do that. It shows whoever has the mailing list is now consolidating the email addresses. Perhaps it is an attempt to hit an entire organisation in the one go leading people to think the information may be legitimate. All it needs is one person in the organisation to think the email might be legitimate and others may be encouraged to check it out.

The email displays correctly if viewed using an Apple iPhone, but is malformed if received using Outlook. In Outlook the message appears as an attached text file and there is no body to the message. It is very obvious to Outlook users this message is a fake.

It is important that you delete suspicious emails. I read yesterday that up to 85% of malware infected computers are now caused by people visiting web sites controlled by hackers. These sites may be legitimate sites where hackers have gained access and installed code or code to redirect people to another site. The owner of the site may have no knowledge they’ve been hacked. In the past the email attachment was a major cause of infection. Now it appears the main cause has moved to people visiting web sites which uses exploits in unpatched software the user has on their machine to infect their computer.

I’d highly recommend that you don’t let curiosity get the better of you. Clicking on a link in an email you receive could end up costing you a lot in both money and inconvenience. If an email appears suspicious, it probably is.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you need your computer fixed because curiosity got the better of you.

Amazon Kindle Fire press release

The Amazon Kindle Fire has just been announced in the States at a price of $199USD. For many this is a game changer. The Amazon Kindle Fire is a 7” tablet based on a fork of the Android operating system. Amazon have the resources and build and evolve the software so we can have confidence it should be around for a while. In addition, for Amazon, this is part of their product range and approach to doing business, so for them, it isn’t just a stand-alone device.

In Australia it may be some time before we see the Kindle Fire. One thing for sure though is it will put pressure on the entire tablet industry.

For those interested in reading the press release you can find it here.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple iPhone 5 and iOS5 Australian release date

In June, if my memory serves me correctly, Steve Jobs announced iOS5 would be launched in September, which I thought was a bit strange. It appeared the new operating system would be released before the next iPhone and to me that didn’t make marketing sense. September is nearly gone, so it looks like iOS5 will most likely be released either at the same time or even possibly slightly after the Apple iPhone 5, which makes more sense from a marketing perspective.

The rumours are for an announcement on October 4 with supplies be released after that date. There are rumours in the UK that staff in Apple stores have been advised not to take holidays in the first two weeks of October. If the rumours are true then the Apple iPhone 5 will be released early October.

Has the iPhone 5 bug bitten you? Or are you happy to evaluate the iPhone 5 against your requirements and take your time. I know which one we should do, but somehow, for a lot of people, emotion rules their purchasing decisions. Sometimes I think why not. You might as well enjoy your money. You’ve worked hard for it.

For me I’m looking forward to the new messaging application. Now I know it is only Apple specific, but it will be interesting to see how useful it is.

What feature are you looking forward to the most?

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping people with their computers, tablets and mobile phones.

Alert: Australia Post - Get your parcel No306. (

I’ve received a number of emails in the past week with the message Get your parcel. By coincidence these started arriving a day after Dodo said they’d send me a replacement Buddy Box for the one which didn’t work. One client fell for a UPS malware email because they received an email from UPS and were expecting a UPS parcel. If you’re expecting a parcel, receiving an email like this could easily trick you.

In this case the body of the email is very basic and unlikely to be from a large company like Australia Post.

Dear customer.

Your package has been returned to the Australia Post office.
Reason: The package is too large
Please find the attached document containing detailed information about delivery failure.
Read all information carefully and come to the "Australia Post" office to receive your package.

Thank you for attention.
Customer service.

Attached is a zip file ( which contains the file Attached_Document.exe. This file is an executable file but it has been designed to look like a Word document with a Microsoft Word icon. Since most people can’t see the file extension they could be easily tricked into thinking this is a Word document. Opening the file will not open a document, but instead run a program, most likely designed to infect your computer.

I use OzEfilter to check the emails at my mail server before receiving them into my computer and in this case OzEfilter showed me the email was sent from Canada. Just another piece of information which confirms this is most likely malware. Microsoft’s Security Essentials doesn’t show this file as malware. This is where you need to use common sense and not open files like this. Just delete them as soon as you receive them.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you need help with your computer
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding areas.

Alert: Re: Scan from a HP Officejet #658992

They say curiosity killed the cat, but the modern equivalent would be curiosity infected your computer.

I noticed a number of emails recently with the subject Re: Scan from a HP Officejet  #658992 or similar. These emails contain an attachment which is a zip file. The zip file I checked contained an executable HP_SCAN_Z520131___dollÔÇ«fdp.exe. The file has an icon which makes it appear to be a PDF.

There is little doubt this is malware. Microsoft’s Security Essentials is usually very good, but like all anti-virus scanning software, they are unlikely to identify recently released malware. Malware writers are most likely going to check their work against the common anti-virus products before releasing their malware, so that leaves a window of a few days where the anti-virus software won’t help curious people. In this case Microsoft’s software does not detect malware.

If you’re curious about an email you’ve received from someone you don’t know, don’t be tempted. You really will infect your computer and it is costly to repair. Please delete emails you aren’t sure about. It isn’t worth the risk or the cost to get your computer fixed.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you’ve infected your computer and need it fixed.
(Covering Melbourne Eastern to Northern suburbs within 10km of Templestowe)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Coles Home Insurance using Google Maps View to check properties

I recently compared home insurance and decided to obtain a quote from Coles Home Insurance. I’m comfortable with technology but the process didn’t go well because at the end it didn’t go through and I had to call their number. What I did find interesting was as part of our conversation I determined Coles Home Insurance were using Google Maps View to check out our property. Unfortunately the Google vehicle didn’t quite get to pass our place (which normally I would think is good) so all we could see was a partial view.

If you want to see which roads Google Maps covers, drag the man over the map and the roads covered will turn blue. Part of our street was missing.

As a result the insurance needed a supervisor’s approval who wouldn’t have been available until the following week. I decided to renegotiate with my current insurance company as I was put off being left in limbo and Coles Home Insurance isn’t a service I’ve had an experience of with claims. I’m happy to pay a little more knowing I was looked after previously.

A couple of tips with home insurance. Ask if they will review the premium and also consider the excess you are prepared to pay. By doing this I was able to reduce our premium by over $200. Not bad for the cost of a telephone call.

Kelvin Eldridge  
Call 0415 910 703 if you need assistance with your computer, tablet or mobile device.

Friday, September 23, 2011

MyAnswers: Skype highlights telephone number on web pages

The following MyAnswers solution 2162 is now available:

An automatic update of Skype installed on my Windows XP computer. Now telephone numbers on web pages appear with a grey background and an Australian flag. How do I turn this off?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Word Check and my dictionary work now only available to clients

After eight years of providing my work to the general public I’ve had to bite the bullet and recognise the small financial return is insufficient for me to continue. Very little income has come from the hundreds of hours of work over the years and I have to accept I need to focus my energy on my clients, as they are the people who support myself and my family financially.

I’d estimate that probably over a million Australians now use my work in open source projects, but unfortunately open source for most people is about obtaining free software and I understand that. I’m pleased however whilst I may not have received much financially, it is however pleasing to think in a small way I’ve made a difference.

By refocusing on my clients I’ll now be able to continue my work as part of my consulting activities.

Thank you for sharing this part of the journey with me.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MyAnswers: You are using an old version of Internet Explorer that Gmail no longer supports.

The following MyAnswers solution 2159 is now available:

When using Gmail on a Windows XP computer I get the message "You are using an old version of Internet Explorer that Gmail no longer supports. Some features may not work correctly." What should I do?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Windows 8 release date not know yet, but Microsoft shares more at Microsoft's Build conference

Whilst the release date of Windows 8 is still not known at this stage (I’d guess at the end of first quarter 2012 with a possibility of mid 2012), more details of the functionality of Windows 8 have now been released by Microsoft at their Build conference for developers.

Now some people are going to be aghast as Microsoft’s emphasis on their Metro interface (designed for touch screen) with the lessening emphasis on the Windows desktop. Whilst I’m one of those people I can also see Microsoft really have little choice. I was helping a user with their Motorola Xoom Android tablet yesterday and for most of the day, they could easily use their tablet and not touch their Windows based notebook computer.

A lot of people spend most of their time now either in their email client or on the internet. For most people a tablet computer will do a lot of what they need. Ask yourself when was the last time your created a document or a spreadsheet for your own personal needs. For some people due to their job ,they will create documents every day, but for others it may be days or weeks since they’ve really needed a desktop or notebook computer.

As a general rule if you’re a consumer of services you may find a tablet becomes your primary device. Your smartphone is probably used more, keeps you in contact, but isn’t really that great for entering text. I see many people will use their smartphone as their first level of communication, then their tablet and next their desktop or notebook. If you’re a creator of information then you’ll be using your desktop or notebook. It really depends on your role as a user.

If Microsoft provides an operating system which enables a tablet to easily operate as a Windows desktop/notebook by docking with a keyboard, mouse and even a large screen, all of a sudden the need for a desktop or notebook for many is gone. Microsoft can’t miss that boat or they’ll be in real trouble. For me right now an iPad or an Android tablet doesn’t do what I want and need to do, but there’s a good chance Windows 8 will. So the opportunity for Microsoft is still open but if they don’t get this right or at least close, if not, they could be in trouble. Whilst they’ll have the corporate market for a while they’ll have lost the consumer market. At first that won’t appear to matter, but in the long run consumers also have jobs and what they use will leak into the corporate market, as the iPad has done.

Certainly interesting times for Microsoft. For us it is still about using the tools which help us do what we want to do.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if your need assistance with your computer, tablet or mobile phone.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Would you like the preferred Australian English spelling to be available for Microsoft Office?

If you’d like the preferred Australian English spelling to be made available as a spellcheck dictionary for Microsoft Office please make the effort to add your voice.

I’m currently in contact with Microsoft and to their credit, they are taking my request for assistance to make my work available with Microsoft Office and passing the request through their channels.

For Microsoft right now I’m a lone voice with a request. If you’d like my work to be available with Microsoft Office please help by adding your voice by making a comment on this blog post. I’ve tried this on a number of occasions over the last five years so this will be the last attempt at making the preferred Australian English spelling available to Australian Microsoft users. It is now or never so please make your voice heard.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Kelvin Eldridge


Friday, September 2, 2011

Need help setting up email on your mobile phone?

One of my clients wrote this to me.

I have an Iphone and can't work out how to get emails happening - is this something you could help me with? I have been back to Telstra shop but they are bloody hopeless.

Generally the people at the Telstra shop are sales people and their skill with technology will be quite varied. We can’t all be good at everything. In addition to work out how best to set up the iPhone, you need to first work out what options you have available. There services you are currently using will limit your options and I find people need a small amount of training to understand what can and can’t be done. Unfortunately every option currently available has a number of trade-offs and people are usually restricted in the options they can use based on their previous choices. The result is a compromise and people need to be aware of what the compromise entails.

I find it is much easier to help people set up the smart phone if they are present. Working with them over the telephone where you need to step them through the menus can be quite time consuming. In the case of this client I assisted them over the telephone and what I couldn’t see was the iPhone 4 suffers from the “death grip”, where if held in a certain way the signal strength drops considerably and connectivity can be intermittent or drop out completely, was making support more difficult. I’m happy to assist people with telephone support but generally it can be more time consuming and thus more expensive for some problems.

If you need assistance with setting up email on your mobile phone, tablet, or in fact any computer, I’m happy to assist.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if your need assistance with your computer.

MyAnswers: CA parental control blocks the internet after CA Internet Security removed.

The following MyAnswers solution 2156 is now available:

CA parental control blocks the internet after CA Internet Security removed.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910703 if you need assistance with your computers.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Alert: Blog comment by Majid Ali

To share with others typical blog spam I see on my blog I thought I'd write about the comment left by supposedly Majid Ali.

Majid Ali made the request in the blog comment Please help me by reading my appeal on my profile.

When I received this comment on my blog I decided to check the profile. According to the profile Majid is from Haiti and this appears to be an appeal to raise money by appealing to the better nature of people. Over 8,000 people had viewed the profile which is a massive number.

On checking my logs I found no one from Haiti had visited my site. Visitors for the day had come from: United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Turkey and Pakistan.

I just rechecked the link for the profile and the profile is no longer available, which possibly means the blog has been removed.

It is almost certain this is nothing more than a scam. With over 8,000 views of the profile this really was massive scam with spam sent to ten’s if not hundreds of thousands of blogs. A search of Google for the term Please help me by reading my appeal on my profile shows it appears over 2,000 times meaning it went public on thousands of blogs.

If you are reading blog comments be aware that many of the comments are fake, may be scams and you should not assume just because the comment was added to the blog it has been checked. Over 90% of comments I receive on my blogs are spam or scams. I don’t release comments without reviewing them and I suggest others with blogs do the same. Most comments I’ve found are attempts at advertising.

If you decide to use a blog to promote your business I’d recommend you don’t release comments automatically, otherwise you’ll allow scammers to use your site to ensnare unsuspecting victims who could be your family, friends or customers.

Kelvin Eldridge
Need help with your internet presence contact Online Connections.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Alert: Important information from the Nokia Developer website team

I received an email with the subject Important information from the Nokia Developer website team on the Monday and have subsequently read a news item. It does appear a Nokia site has been hacked. Nokia was quick off the mark letting its users know which is good.

What did concern me was the links in the email weren’t from Nokia but from a marketing group. Given that anyone with the mailing list could now send fake emails on behalf of Nokia I think companies using third parties to send emails out on their behalf should reconsider using third party organisations in this situation.

The bottom line is if you have registered with Nokia as a developer to use their forum you should now treat emails with greater caution.

Kelvin Eldridge
Contact Online Connections for assistance with your computers.

MyAnswers: Office365/Office 365 gets the thumbs down.

The following MyAnswers solution 2155 is now available:

Office365/Office 365 gets the thumbs down.

I initially started the review of Office 365 with the aim of seeing whether or not I could recommend it to my clients and new clients. My focus is on micro and small business so I'm always looking for tools and services which can help those businesses. I hope others find the information useful.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge

HP's decision to kill WebOS tablet has broader ramifications

HP’s recent decision to kill off the WebOS tablet just a few days after its release in Australia and then following up with news it may exit the PC market, is certainly news for concern.

I’ve been a long time reseller of HP business equipment to my customers. They’ve been reliable suppliers and the equipment has been very reliable. In business you need long term reliable suppliers to help you help your customers. Right now I’d have to say everything has been turned on its head. Right now for me a question mark hangs over HP as a supplier and I’d have to say I’d no longer recommend them in preference to another supplier.

HP has in a short period of time gone from a preferred leading brand to an unknown quantity. In effect their actions have moved them from prime candidate to non recommendation. I personally think that is absolutely amazing and disappointing.

Even though it is stated in the press the printer division is safe as it is profitable, it really begs the question will it be the next to go. The only certainty with HP right now appears to be uncertainty, and that’s not good for the industry and those who rely on HP.

If the leading maker of personal computers worldwide pulls out of the PC market it is a concern. Everyone is talking about tablets but really they’re an additional item, and not a replacement for notebook computers and desktops. They represent a sliver of the computing market at least at this stage. Much of what I do with a computer I cannot do with a tablet and that is true of my clients.

The competitors must have grins from cheek to cheek. With the main player simply stepping aside for them I don’t think they’ll believe their luck.

For my clients I’ll certainly be reviewing the suppliers I recommend as my clients deserve to know the supplier they purchase from at least appears to be in the game for the long haul.

This is indeed a low spot for the computer industry.

Kelvin Eldridge
For assistance with your computers call Online Connections
In the IT business for over 20 years.

Does open source create a leech like mentality and hurt those working in the computer industry?

There is no doubt that obtaining free software is a bonus for people, but what if you’re the one putting in your energy to improve the software. As the builder of the Australian English dictionary I put in hundreds of hours only to find almost no return for my efforts. I tried all the usual ways to raise money from a distribution fee, a donation link, or thinking that perhaps people would use my professional services once they knew my work, but in the end, there is probably over a million people using my work and almost nothing to show for it.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I put myself into that position. I naively believed that if you give to others then others will give to you. One person from the Ubuntu project was happy to pay $9.95 distribution fee so he could include my work into Ubuntu. He believed there were 20 million users and that I would benefit. I saw no traffic to my site or any business from Ubuntu users. The Firefox project took my work and gave nothing back. Google included my work in their Google Chrome project. A link from Google would have been worth its weight in gold, but instead any reference back to my work was buried deep inside the project. Every project took what they wanted and gave nothing back.

For me the saddest aspect is I did exactly the same. I took the work of the UK dictionary project at the advice of the project lead and used the from the project never once thinking about the people who put the work into the UK dictionary. I then gutted the dictionary from 120,000 words to 70,000 and built a better Australian dictionary for my clients (at my cost) and then made the work available to Australian users. It was later when I realised what I’d done that I wrote to the developers offering to help them if I could in some way.

Firefox was the worst for me because my work was converted to a different licence against my wishes. Google was a disappointment because I asked that they add the ability to select Australian English so I could make my work available, but in doing so they then just incorporated my work.

The problem I see with open source is it takes from one group of people to give to another. It doesn’t support those who are contributing. Until open source projects do, they will continue to churn through the people it uses which is not a good long term strategy. This approach means there will be a constant brain drain of the people contributing. People will come and go because in the end they are not rewarded. With commercial software those who contribute get paid which helps the project grow and those who are contributing to also grow.

I hope that by sharing this experience others working in the computing industry will see my contributing to open source as an example to follow thinking they’ll benefit. I haven’t. I’ve consumed a very large amount of time with no return on the time invested. I hope that by being open if one other person makes a better decision than I have, that will be a good outcome.

Kelvin Eldridge  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Is blog spam a legitimate marketing technique?

Today I received blog spam from Toronto First Class Limo, Limos Rental Toronto, King’s Pastry, Homes and Castles (Century 21) and Airport Auto Rental. These sites appear to maintained by Asian Web Media a division of GloXtar Inc.

Blog spam is where other companies submit comments with the intent of having their site appear in other company’s blogs. In the past links would appear in the text but now companies have their site included as the author.

I consider this inappropriate and not a way to endure your business to others. I’d even be certain these businesses have not bothered to find out the marketing techniques of those whose web marketing services they retain. In addition the registrars in control of these domains appear disinterested in the activities of those registering domains, whereas if these businesses are legitimate, a single warning would likely result in the companies ceasing their blog spamming.

We can see ISPs in Australia do not wish to take responsibility for those who use their services fighting tooth and nail so those who breach copyright aren’t their responsibility, but in the end if ISPs and registrars actively discouraged law breakers, the internet would be a better place for everyone.

If you have a blog don’t automatically release comments. Manually approve each comment and help keep blog spam from reaching the public. It takes some work but if others don’t take responsibility then it is up to you.

Kelvin Eldridge
Need help with a blog. Contact Online Connections.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Alert: Work Offer Inside

I treat unsolicited emails as potential malware, but I suspect many people don’t based on the large number of people who get scammed. For me it is a real shame these people are scammed and I wish they had the knowledge to see the scam in advance.

Today I received a typical unsolicited work offer email. For those who are unemployed and looking for an opportunity it would be easy to be enticed. After a while any offer can end up being a good offer. But I suspect not in the case of unsolicited offers. I decided to review this email.

The email is about an offer for someone in Canada. I’m in Australia and this email was sent to an email account that most likely was harvested from the internet. I don’t give out the email or use it in any other way. Scraping the internet for email address is the first sign that something isn’t right.

The email has an address which implies it is a Canadian site. When I checked where the email was sent from it was sent from Costa Rica. Further investigation shows the domain has a contact in Russia.

Chances are emails like this are only a ruse to get detailed contact information which may potentially be used for identity theft.

A general rule is don’t respond to any unsolicited email. If you interested in doing work approach the business directly yourself and not as a response to an email.

Kelvin Eldridge
Contact Online Connections for computer support


Friday, August 26, 2011

Monthly and Annual peak sun hours for locations around Australia

A figure I tend to think is quite useful when thinking about a solar system is the amount of peak sun hours around Australia as compared with the number of daylight hours. From what I’ve read the peak sun hours is the number of hours you can use to determine the amount of energy your solar system will generate.

I found this very informative document I thought I’d share with others. It provides the annual peak hours around Australian but also useful information such as the efficiency based on the orientation towards the sun and also the tilt of the panels. This information gives you a better understanding of why a solar system only provides a certain amount of electricity and also how that varies over the year.

I’m still not sure how much energy is generated each day compared with the peak sun hours. I can’t help feeling even though there is a percentage efficiency drop electricity would still be generated. I hope to make some rough measurements in the near future which will help me clarify this.

Also the information about how a shadow over a small section of the panel can have a dramatic effect to the amount of power generated was useful. That now makes a bit more sense and isn’t what I would have expected.

The other useful figure was how a stand-alone system produces less power due to the losses associated with other components of the system. For when I did some calculations with regards to charging batteries some time ago, I’ve found you usually have to factor in a loss of around a third of the power. Very interesting information indeed.

I hope others find the information useful.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Alert: IMG (Offers) Image Marketing Group

I continue to receive emails to email addresses I don’t make public from this group so I’d highly recommend you delete emails from this group as they’d be considered spam. I’ve previously unsubscribed but that had no effect.

On checking they’ve changed their email address but lately appear to be using the email address

The good thing is that whilst the company uses a consistent email address you can add it to your spam filter. If you have control of your email at the mail server you can add the email address at the server and for a while you’ll be free of these pesky emails. That is until they change their email address again.

If you need help blocking your email at your mail server and have access to your mail server you’re welcome to contact me.

Kelvin Eldridge
Having problems with your computer then drop us a line.

Easy low cost photo books

I recently produced a photo book of our holiday and couldn’t help feel that others may be interested in creating their own photo book.

The problem I’ve found in the past is the time involved in creating a photo book can be days, and if you have a lot of photos, you have to cut the number of photos back otherwise the photo book could easily cost $200.

I’ve now created an approach which enables me to automate creating a photo book from a large number (small number as well) so I can create the majority of the photo book in a few minutes and then dress the photo book up with the final touches. I produced a photo book containing 410 photos on 134 pages in under an hour for around the cost of a standard 20 page book.

If there is interest and I can find a way to make my program available to others I’d be happy to consider the options.

For example:

Would you be interested in attending a short course which would enable you to learn the software (it is very easy) and ask some questions?

Would you prefer a do-it-yourself approach with printed or web based instructions?

If you are interested let me know and if there is enough interest I’ll put something together.

For me the ability to put together quickly and at relatively low cost some photo books opens up some great possibilities.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for support if you have a computer related problem.  

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

Letter from Steve Jobs... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Software backup programs for Windows 7, Vista and XP.

I’ve done a great number of hours of research on backup programs over the years and I found it very difficult to find a good program for those using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. The leading brands I felt weren’t good enough. They generally failed or had terrible performance.

For my small business users and individuals my requirements for a backup program isn’t rocket science.

Here is what I wanted:


1. A copy of the files and folders. I’ve found any user can retrieve a file or folder when it is a copy, but most struggle with restoring from backup when a backup program makes a special file.

2. To be able to run a process to copy multiple folders as users’ data is often stored in a couple of areas. A basic copy isn’t good enough.

3. When I copy the folders to an external drive I want to create a new folder to store the data so I have a different backup each time. I’ve found copying over a previous copy a recipe for disaster.
4. Easy to run.
5. Easy to add new folders to the backup.

I decided it was time I wrote my own simple backup program. I could then place this on a user’s machine and they could run the backup program to copy  their important folders and files.

I’ve now created a backup program which is a DOS batch file. It is easily edited to meet the needs of the individual, fast, can copy to a nominated drive letter, very low cost and is launched by clicking on an icon. Each backup creates a new folder which has the date and time as part of the folder name to store the data.

I’m very pleased to say I can now provide my batch backup program to clients as an additional service. I’m happy to provide the batch backup program for $9.95 per user plus any time involved in tailoring for each user if you don’t wish to do this yourself.

Kelvin Eldridge

Why installing solar panels may not be a good investment.

I have to be frank, but I'm really struggling with investing in solar panels and here's why.

I read that in Melbourne the average amount of sunlight for solar energy production per day is 4 hours. The average solar panel kit is 1.5kWH and whilst a basic installation until recently was around $3,000, with the reduction of the grant it is now around $4,500.

The first concern I have is by taking a grant I am in effect taking other people's money.

The second is if the government instead invested in large scale developments (I've read two are underway) then the savings from building on a large scale means no government grant would be required to achieve better returns.

I've read the amount of energy used in making the solar panels takes about 7 years to break even.

The basic installation when I reviewed information provided at a meeting run by the local council wasn't what I'd end up paying. There were potentially other costs. There is also a maintenance cost and the inverter if it dies, is very expensive to replace.

But let's forget about all the above and just do a quick financial review. Using the Energy Cost Calculator and my current energy retailer's price of around 21 cents per kWh, a 1.5kWh system would generate 6kWh's per day or roughly a saving of $469 a year.

At current prices that's around 10 years just to pay back the money I invest. In 10 years if I left the money in the bank I'd have increased the money and if I applied the money to a mortgage the savings off the loan would have doubled the money.

Now to complicate things more, there is an attractive rebate for energy you pump back into the grid. But for most people that won't be very much as their base load may even exceed the electricity the panels generate. But worse, by putting in the panels you go on a split tariff system that charges a higher rate for two thirds of the day and a lower rate for only a third of the day when usage is lowest. Overall the tariff change will increase your electricity costs.

The picture I'm seeing is you gain some savings but that is reduced by the increased costs due to the higher tariffs.

It is hard to get an accurate idea of how much better off you'll be, but if I'm to go by the 11 people in the local area who appeared in the newspaper, the savings for them only averaged around $200 a year.

For many that means installing solar panels may never end up paying for themselves.

For those who justify installing solar panels because it is environmentally good then perhaps think about the very large scale projects which can achieve a better result at a lower cost for the benefit of everyone with no grant required.

Installing solar panels just doesn't make sense.


Now don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of solar energy and have been for decades. I just think we need to make sure we're doing things for the right reasons and in the most appropriate ways.

The approach I've been taking is energy reduction which has reduced our electricity usage to around 40% of the average. I’ve found a number of ways to save money which pay for themselves in a few months to under and year. I'm also investigating the appropriate use of solar energy where there is a better payback so I have definitely not given up on solar.

Kelvin Eldridge

PS. If you have verifiable savings with your solar installation you'd like to share with others, please feel free to contact me with the information. So far people haven't been jumping up and down to brag about their savings.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Are you paranoid that your computer might be infected with malware?

If you’re paranoid that your computer might be infected with malware you probably have good cause. The problem is there are so many businesses out there, both legitimate and not legitimate, who try to change your computer without you quite realising what they’re doing or why.

It could be as simple as installing Acrobat Reader where you end up with the Google Toolbar installed. Acrobat most likely makes money by bundling Google’s Toolbar, Google gets to monitor the sites you visit which helps them make money from advertising and you’re computer just gets another piece of software installed it doesn’t need. That’s a legitimate business tactic although one I wish they didn’t use.

Next you have the site which changes your default search engine as I’ve seen with Firefox users. The search engine looks like Google but it isn’t. The site creates a front end to Google’s search engine so it makes money if you click on ads. You’ve been tricked and you’re browser has been hijacked. Because Firefox makes most of its income from Google, unlike Internet Explorer, where it is easy to change the default search engine, the average user will have difficulty removing this search engine and my logs show quite a few people reaching my site have been infected or tricked. You might just be starting to think the world is conspiring against you.

Then you have the malware writers. It can be as simple as visiting an infected site and your computer is infected. One person I know had their mortgage offset account cleared out of thirteen thousand dollars.

If you have shared computers and your children frequently search the internet (who doesn’t) then you run the risk of your computer being infected and often you won’t know it has occurred. The problem is if you then do things which require a username, password or pin number, that information could be recorded and sent to others without you knowing. To be quite frank, I advise all my family not to use any computer other than mine to do internet banking because I can’t be sure their computers haven’t been infected. I know they have in the past.

As a result of talking with a concerned client, I decided to investigate and see if there was a way to boot a computer from a CD and provide the user with a secure environment. As it turned out I was able to locate software used by American soldiers whilst overseas and can now make that software available to clients at a relatively low cost. The only tricky aspect is getting your computer to boot from the CD when a CD is present. This is a standard feature of most computers but isn’t generally known by the average users. Unfortunately changing the setting can vary from machine to machine, but once set up it works like a dream.

I can see a number of possible uses.

1. You want to do your internet banking and want to make sure you start your computer and know that even if it is infected, you’re session is secure. That’s exactly what the software can do. It doesn’t require anything from your hard disk and doesn’t update your computer. Every time you start the computer using the CD everything is clean.

2. Your children have infected your computer as a result of surfing the internet and that cost you a bucket of money to fix and you’d prefer not to go through that again. When your children want to surf the internet get them to boot their computer using the CD and they can surf the internet to their heart’s desire and even if they do comes across malware, only the current session is affected and once the computer is restarted the malware will be gone.

3. You own a business and don’t mind letting your staff surf the net or do their online banking during breaks but are concerned they could infect your computers, or worse, an infected computer clears out their bank account leaving you potentially liable. I’ve read this cost one business around $10,000 in legal fees. Give staff and CD and let them boot the computer. Your computer is safe and so are they.

4. You want to use a friend or relation’s computer whilst travelling to do internet banking. Yes. I’ve been there. The ANZ screwed up my automatic payments when I went overseas so I was forced to use a computer I didn’t know to make payments and it was really stressful. The secure boot CD would have given me peace of mind.

5. How many times have I had to fix a business computer after a staff member has worked on the weekend and brought in their child and the computer was used to occupy them. Yes. Very costly. Boot the computer with a secure boot disk and the computer can again be used to occupy children without concern or pressure they could do something wrong.

There are many uses for a secure boot disk. Clients are welcome to contact me if you’d like a secure boot disk. There is a small charge for the disk ($9.95 plus postage if required) but if you need support to set up your computer so it can boot from the CD, there would also be a small charge for the time involved.

For me this is a great opportunity for clients to minimise the risk associated with the internet. Nearly all malware infections now come from the internet. If you use a secure boot disk when accessing the internet the chances of infecting your computer are greatly reduced.

Kelvin Eldridge