Monday, December 31, 2012

MyAnswers: Opera error message: Error initializing Opera: module 13 (logdoc)

The following MyAnswers solution 2302 is now available:

Opera error message: Error initializing Opera: module 13 (logdoc)


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

MyAnswers: Kindle app for Windows 8 forces people to use the Windows Store.

The following MyAnswers solution 2300 is now available:

When I go to download the Kindle app for Windows 8 I'm forced to use the Windows Store. I didn't have to previously use the Windows store for the Kindle app. What should I do?


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: Buying content on a Kindle E-Reader forces people to enter credit card details.

The following MyAnswers solution 2301 is now available:

How to get free content from the Kindle Store to your Kindle E-Reader without having to provide credit card details.


Click here to obtain the solution.

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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Randi Zuckerberg stung by Facebook privacy settings

The news that Randi Zuckerberg was not happy with a private photo being shared is a reminder to everyone that when you post a photo on any site you should expect it can become public. It almost appears that on the internet the only rule is there are no rules when it comes to the internet. In the past no one would ever think to pass on a photo of another person without their permission. Now it is done millions of times a day.

I regularly hear of people being unhappy that someone else has shared a photo of them on the internet. They take a photo of a group, go home and without any permission by anyone in the photo, post it for their friends and possibly the world to see.

Remember if you can see a photo on the internet it is easy to copy and paste the photo and pass it on. Even if the site doesn’t allow you to copy a photo you can always screen capture the photo.

Randi Zuckerberg stung by Facebook privacy settings in photo flap... Read More

The only advice I can offer is if you don’t want a photo to be made public, don’t put it on the internet. If a friend takes a photo of you ask them politely not to share it on the internet and I’d be pretty sure most people are decent enough not to, and if they do, well perhaps it is time to reconsider who your real friends are. Good friends will always consider your feelings.

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Alert: Thanks - Payment has been received - American Express Online Services

I received a number of emails today to different email addresses with the subject " Thanks - Payment has been received" and an attachment with the filename "AmericanExpress-Online-Services-Notification.zip".

The attachment contains malware designed to appear to be a PDF but is actually an executable file.

The malware is not detected by most of the commonly used antivirus software packages people use in Australia.

You should delete these emails.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.
Assisting residents and businesses in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and surrounding suburbs.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Google top searches for 2012 highlights how browsers have been designed to be inefficient to make money for browser businesses.

I noticed a list of the top company brands searched for in Australia (link) using Google and I was quite surprised by a couple of things. First here is a list of the top Australian brand searches.

Top Searches for Australian Brands, 2012
1.Gumtree
2.Commonwealth Bank
3.ANZ
4.Telstra
5.Seek
6.Westpac
7.AFL
8.Virgin
9.nab
10.ABC

The list isn't what surprised me. What surprised me is different browsers behave in different ways.

If you enter ANZ into your iPhone you go straight to the mobile site for the ANZ. If you enter ANZ into your search are or the address area in Internet Explorer you go to the search engine results. I thought that was weird but interesting. I then investigated further. The Safari browser takes you direct to a site if possible (it gets the site wrong sometimes, try Westpac) but the browsers other than Safari on the desktop, all take you to the search results for the selected search engine. When you think about how the companies make money it makes sense. Apple doesn't do search so sending a person direct to a site is no skin off its nose. Whereas Internet Explorer (Microsoft Bing by default), Chrome (Google), Opera (Google) or Firefox (Google) all make money if you click on ads in the search results. So those browsers are designed to slow you down and display a set of search results with ads which you may click on making them money.

Now we aren't talking about a few searches. We are talking hundreds of millions of searches a year.

For example according to Google's information Gumtree is searched locally 11.1 million times a month.

I then started to think, what if for the most frequently searched words for well known brands the search engine took me straight to the site, and for multiple words or other words took me to my preferred search engine which is Google, but with only pages from Australia which usually gives me the results I want.

I then went through the top 100 sites and the common words used and added those words as well. (Sorry I didn't add porn sites as I like to keep my services family friendly.)

Now I have a search engine which takes me direct to the major banks, weather, news, real estate sites when I type a single word or common phrase and to Google searches results with pages from Australia if the word isn't known.

To add the search engine to Internet Explorer as your default search engine visit my Fun With Search page, scroll to the bottom of the page and you'll find JustLocal Go. Click on the link and add JustLocal Go as your search engine.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.
 
UPDATE: I've now added the search engine to JustLocal (www.JustLocal.com.au) as the Search menu option. In addition if you enter the letters g, y, or b before your search phrase you can send the search to Google, Yahoo or Bing respectively. For those who may be paranoid that Google knows a little too much about them, splitting searches across search engines gives each only a subset of searches.

Software by Google is pretty frustrating and crappy

Every day I'm reminded just how poorly Google's software is. I pick up my Android tablet, go to Google's blogger service and enter or edit a blog post. Within a few minutes I give up. It simply doesn't work properly. I'm using Google's Android software with their Google Chrome browser on their Google Blogger service and it is a frustrating experience.

I then pick up any Windows computer running Internet Explorer (whether it is Windows XP with Internet Explorer 8 or Windows 8 with Internet Explorer 10) and it just works.

I pick up the Android tablet to check out catch-up TV (a tablet is a great media consumption device) and I never know if it is going to work or not. I then pull out the Windows computer and it works every time.

If you're thinking about purchasing a Google based device make sure you recognise its limitations. In theory an Android tablet should be able to replace much of what I do on the internet, but in reality, I regularly have to pull out a Windows computer to complete a task. Google have had years to fine tune their software on the tablet and I suspect since they haven't got it right, they've left a gaping hole which Microsoft will fill with their Windows 8 tablets (not Windows RT because it is a very crippled platform).

In 2013 I suspect we'll see very low cost 7" tablets which we'll purchase for convenience use, but also higher cost tablets using Microsoft software we'll use knowingthey can do most of what we want to do.

All Google had to do was to provide Android users with the same experience as they do with their desktop version of Chrome and most issues would disappear. It really doesn't make sense how Google can provide and acceptable product for the desktop and such a poor experience on the tablet.

I like the lower cost of Google products but in the end, the frustration of things not working is simply not worth the grief. Microsoft pricing on their tablet range makes it hard to justify. Luckily there are a good range of third party manufacturers which will start to push Windows tablet pricing down to more affordable levels. It will be interesting to see what is announced in terms of Windows tablets at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013. CES may give us a good indication of what to expect for the coming months.

Regards,

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.

Friday, December 21, 2012

MyAnswers: Why people can't see the changes that have been made to a web site.

The following MyAnswers solution 2299 is now available:

I updated a client's web site and when they checked the site they said they couldn't see the changes.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Alert: ATO - Tax Notification - NOTICE OF TAX RETURN FOR YEAR 2011

The ATO appears to be the target of scams with the email I received this morning. This is the second scam relating to the ATO in two days. Unfortunately when I say the ATO appears to be the target, the real target are people. The following is the email I received this morning.

Date      19 december 2012
Our Ref.               S/11445/12
Your Ref.              18B/492/12


NOTICE OF TAX RETURN FOR YEAR 2011

Dear Taxpayer,

I am sending this email to announce: After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax return of:

$248.83

To receive your return, Click here

For more info on government services go to www.ato.gov.au

The link sends the user to a site which isn’t the ATO and I suspect the aim is to collect information.

You should delete these emails.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Apple has released the iOS 6.0.2 update

Apple has released the iOS 6.0.2 software update. The update is only for the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini. The update fixes a Wi-Fi bug.

Check the update screen on your device. If you're having problems accessing WI-FI connect to your computer and use iTunes.


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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Alert: Facebook Account Activation - Your account has been blocked due to spam activity.

I received an email from Facebook.Team with the subject "Account Activation". The email stated "Your account has been blocked due to spam activity. "

This is a faked email and the link will take you to a site which is not Facebook.

I would suggest you do not click on links in emails you think are from Facebook. Open your browser and go to Facebook. Many scams are designed to look like real emails from well known sites.

You should delete these emails.


Regards,

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.

MyAnswers: How to stop "Do you know" messages from Facebook.

The following MyAnswers solution 2298 is now available:

I keep receiving "Do you know" emails from Facebook. How do I stop these messages?


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Apple users need to become aware that malware is being written to target their platform.

I regularly find Mac users bragging to others around them that the Mac platform does not get viruses. When time permits I then take them aside and suggest they search for malware on the internet for their platform. There have been a number of infections including the recent Flashback Trojan which infected over 500,000 Mac computers worldwide.

Apple quietly added antivirus software to the Mac platform and with no major announcement, the illusion that malware was not an issue for Mac users has continued.

The reality is malware affects most platforms (I say most whereas I would like to say all, but I can’t prove every platform has been targeted by malware writers). Until recently Mac had a relatively small market share meaning it made more sense to target Windows users as they represented over 90% of the market. As the Mac market share increases so does the return on investment for malware writers. In addition malware writers may have more success by being very specific with who they target.

 

If Mac users continue to spread the incorrect belief they are immune to malware all they really do is to provide Mac users with an unrealistic and dangerous expectation. When I blogged about Apple users targeted a while ago with the $50 gift voucher, my logs showed Mac users coming to my site increased from 5-10% up to 30%. Thousands of Apple Mac users were seeking to find out about the gift voucher. Luckily the attack was malware targeted at Windows users. Had it been targeted at Apple users it could easily have done much more damage.

The following is a recently reported incident of Mac malware.

First Mac OS X fake installer pops up, racks up your mobe bill... Read More

Also if you hear Linux users bragging about having a safer environment they aren’t safe either. Linux users tend to only consider the core operating system but a working system includes many other packages. A great number of infected sites on the internet that have been hijacked run on Linux based systems. The majority of infections for Windows users is via installed software such as Java and Flash. Windows users don’t differentiate between the operating system and the installed software. Malware is malware and it really doesn’t matter what weakness it takes advantage of to infect your computer. The end result is still the same.

You should treat all platforms as equally exposed to malware. Be vigilant and you improve your chances of not being infected. Don’t be sold on the idea that one platform is more secure than another. Being tricked into providing your credit card details on any platform still has the same result.


- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Alert: Tax Agent Report - Delayed Tax Returns

Received an email today with the subject “Tax Agent Report - Delayed Tax Returns”. This email has an attachment “TaxAgentReport.xls.zip” which contains malware. You should delete this emails.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
For helpful information regarding viruses and malware check the MyAnswers virus solution page.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

MyAnswers: Two issues I found with the Microsoft Surface Windows RT Touch cover keyboard.

The following MyAnswers solution 2297 is now available:

Two issues I found with the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT Touch cover keyboard.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Alert: TPG Internet: Equipment Order 5802491299

I received a couple of emails pretending to be from TPG for equipment ordered. These emails contain an attached file which is malware.

You should delete these emails. Most antivirus software packages do not pick up the latest malware. The only thing stopping you from infecting your computer is you.

Treat all unsolicited emails with caution. The MyAnswers solution 2293 documents the approach I use to check email attachments.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Harvey Norman has exclusive rights to retail Microsoft Surface Windows RT table, but don't tell JB HiFi.

Today I dropped into the local Harvey Norman today to check out the Microsoft Surface Windows RT table. No tablet in sight. I asked a sales rep when they’d receive their stock but he wasn’t certain. We struck up a conversation and I checked out the ASUS Windows RT tablet. For me Windows RT is too limited but I wanted to check out how the tablet felt. The sales rep said they had exclusive retail rights to the tablet. I thought that was unusual as I’d read in the press that JB HiFi would also be selling the Windows RT tablet.

A short while later I dropped into the JB HiFi store in the same shopping centre and there was the Microsoft Surface Windows RT tablet on display. It was good to get an opportunity to use the tablet even for a short while. I didn’t really like the touch cover/keyboard. I also wanted to see if it really clicked like it does in the ads and I can say it does. The ad also shows it has a great display outside but I really suspect that has more to do with editing or angles rather than the tablet itself. Until I can test a tablet outside I really won’t know.

Windows RT to me is restricted software which means I can’t run most of my Windows applications (such as Microsoft Access) so it doesn’t suit my needs, but I did want to get a feel for what it meant to use Desktop mode and I was pleasantly surprised. I could open File Explorer and move around the folders. At last a tablet that gives you built-in access to your files and folders. This is a world apart from Android and Apple offerings and once the Windows 8 Surface Pro tablet arrives the tablet game could change significantly. Of course it all depends on what you want from your tablet. I don’t think Microsoft has got it right (can’t fathom why they did’t include GPS) but a tablet that can run most of your Windows applications (which doesn’t include Windows RT tablets) means you don’t have to scrap everything you’ve invested in and start again. That’s a game changer to me.

My main interest today in seeing the tablet was to test whether or not people would be able to install the preferred Australian English spelling in Internet Explorer 10 on the Windows Surface RT tablet and from what I can see it should be easy to do. To confirm of course I’ll have to perform a test but so far it is looking good. Microsoft’s tablets will then be the only tablets capable of providing the preferred Australian English spelling and for many that is a point of difference.

So if you’re looking to check out a Microsoft Windows RT Surface tablet you can find them at JB HiFi and you should also shortly be able to find them at Harvey Norman as well.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Assisting residents and businesses in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding suburbs.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Google maps app now available in Apple iTunes store.

Google have now released their map app and it is now available in the Apple iTunes store. Click here using your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to go direct to the app in the App store.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Assisting residents and businesses in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

 

MyAnswers: How do I display the telephone number on my web page as a link for iPhone users.

The following MyAnswers solution 2294 is now available:

I'd like to display the telephone number on my web page as a link so if a person is using an iPhone they can press on the number and they can then call the number easily.


Click here to obtain the solution.

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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Police warn people about using Google maps as well as Apple maps.

The other day I wrote a post about how Apple maps were directing travellers into a remote location 70km away from the desired location of Mildura. The location has now been fixed and was reportedly a second entry for Mildura. To be fair I felt it appropriate to also pass on the warning by Australian police with regards to an issue using Google maps.

Days after Australian police warn about Apple Maps, they lodge a similar complaint against Google.... Read More

My own experience when travelling in Western Australia is there was one section where the GPS did not update for 20-30km. I just used the map as I would a printed map so it wasn’t an issue. Some intersections were quite out of date with lights instead of a roundabout in one case and another made it appear I’d reach a T intersection when in fact the road I was on didn’t change at all and a road came in from the left. Quite disconcerting.

For me however the mapping features of modern mobile are very handy. I remember the days of having the Melway open and it often sliding off the seat. The modern mobile phone/GPS feels much safer if used appropriately.

One recommendation is I’d never use a mobile phone to measure your driving speed. They rarely match the speedo due to the time they take to catch up. When looking for roads that blue dot is handy, but if you wait until it reaches the street you want you’ll have sailed on past the street.

Still though it is pretty neat technology. The sign of success is when one technology replaces another and the mobile phone/GPS has certainly replaced the Melways for me. In the past a Melways was a regular Christmas present for someone. I can’t recall when a Melways was last on the Christmas list. Full credit to Melways however as it served us well.

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Former Mac evangelist Guy Kawasaki now uses Android.

According to a CNET article I read today former Mac evangelist Guy Kawasaki no longer uses iOS devices, but instead uses an Android tablet and mobile phone.

To me this isn't an anti Apple message, but more that we should review technology against our own needs and not to buy based on marketing hype.

When I purchased my iPhone 3GS some in my family couldn't believe it. They felt I was anti Apple but the reality is I use what works for me, plus most of my clients use Windows based computers and I make my income supporting them. I had an aging HP Pocket PC which ran an old version of IE4, limited memory and whilst it still worked, it really failed across many sites. I wanted a portable computer and the iPhone met my needs. For the first year or two I didn't even use it as a mobile phone. The shortish battery life to me was a pain, now I'm used to it.

Work out what is important to you and match the technology against your needs. Also factor in many Android devices won't get an operating system upgrade, so if you want to upgrade you'll need to buy a new device. My iPhone 3GS bought I think nearly three years ago is running iOS6, whereas my Acer A200 tablet bought a year ago wouldn't get an operating system upgrade. There aren't any guarantees in life with technology companies. The original iPad can't run iOS6 and Nokia Windows 7.5 Phones were obsolete shortly after being released in Australia. Let's not forget the HP WebOS tablet which I think lasted a week before being killed off in Australian retailers. There are no safe bets but there are safer bets.


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

MyAnswers: How I check a suspicious email attachment for malware.

The following MyAnswers solution 2293 is now available:

How I check a suspicious email attachment for malware.


Click here to obtain the solution.

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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MyAnswers: 551 5.7.6 Message rejected as spam (CM) ISP Optus

The following MyAnswers solution 2292 is now available:

The client when replying to emails or forwarding emails kept getting the message "551 5.7.6 Message rejected as spam (CM)". The client had their own business site hosting and uses Optus as their ISP.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Microsoft Surface RT tablet available from Harvey Norman.

For those interested in the Microsoft Surface RT tablet the media has reported it will be available from Harvey Norman from Friday. This is a good indication that Microsoft’s go it alone strategy hasn’t worked and now aims to move the Surface RT tablet through selected retailers.

This isn’t a recommendation for the Surface RT tablet but it does provide a good opportunity to gain hands on experience with the tablet. You should review this device carefully against your requirements.

To me the Surface RT is a very restricted device and if people aren’t aware of the limitations they could easily be disappointed. To put this in context I consider the iPad and Android tablets to be restricted devices. The Windows Surface Pro tablet due in January will provide a more complete experience for Windows users, albeit at a price and reduced battery hours between charges.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Assisting residents and businesses in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

MyAnswers: Add desktop IE 10 to Windows 8 Start screen

The following MyAnswers solution 2291 is now available:

How to add the desktop version of Internet Explorer 10 to the Start screen in Windows 8.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Alert: Seat Selection Fee Receipt - Qantas Customer Services

I’ve received a number of malware emails today. Notably targeted at Jetstar (which I’ve documented previously) and also Qantas. The subject of the email is “Seat Selection Fee Receipt”.

Attached to the email is a zip file which contains malware. The malware file is designed to appear as a PDF but is actually an executable file. The attached zip file is named Qantas Personal Information ref 127434.zip where the number would most likely be randomly generated.

This malware is not currently detected by the majority of antivirus software.

If you receive this type of email you should delete it.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you required computer support.
Assisting businesses and residents in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

MyAnswers: How to add a tile to the Windows 8 Start screen

The following MyAnswers solution 2289 is now available:

How do I add a tile to the Windows 8 Start screen. I'd like to put my Microsoft Access application as a tile on the Start screen and also the common programs I use in Windows such as the calculator and Notepad.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MyAnswers: Microsoft Windows 8 Phone Internet Explorer browser fails simple test

The following MyAnswers solution 2288 is now available:

Microsoft Windows 8 Phone Internet Explorer browser fails simple test which means people should review whether the mobile phone is suitable for their needs or not.


Click here to obtain the solution.

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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Find Sandta to win a prize - Everyday rewards

NOTE: Sandta locations below.

This morning I received an email with the subject “find Sandta to win a prize”. I thought this had to be a scam. One of the obvious traits of a scam email is poor spelling and “Sandta” is certainly poor spelling, at least at first it looks that way.

As it turned out this is a legitimate competition being run as part of Everyday Rewards from Woolworths. The competition is to locate Santa on various beaches around Australia and thus Sand-ta is a play on words and spelling.

Last time I advised of the Optus competition I found a way to determine the answers with minimal effort. This competition is a little different, however there are some computer related skills which can come in very handy. Existing clients are welcome to contact me if you require some assistance.

For those entering have fun and a very merry Christmas.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for if you require computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

PLEASE NOTE: Previously I didn't believe it was appropriate to pass on the location of Sandta. Upon reading the FAQ it does state if you can't find Sandta share with friends. Ultimately the aim of the competition for Woolworths appears to be to encourage people to become Everyday Reward members and you can only enter if you become a member.

Day 1. Cottlesloe Beach
Day 2. Palm Beach
Day 3: Bells Beach
Day 4: Maroubra Beach
Day 5: Gold Coast
Day 6: Airlie Beach
Day 7: Henley Beach

You're welcome to pass on a link to this post to your friends to help your friends win a prize.

Good luck.
 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Microsoft Surface with Windows Pro release date and pricing, with pricing estimated for Australia.

Microsoft in the States has now released pricing of the Surface Windows Pro and confirmed availability for January 2013.

The 64GB (SSD – Solid State Drive) model will be priced at $899 and the 128GB model at $999. Based on the pricing of the current Surface RT devices in Australia this may correspond to prices of around $999 and $1,109, but I’d almost expect the more expensive model to be price at $1,099 to make the price appear better.

These are the prices I’d expected but I really was hoping for better.

One thing recently concerned me, is yesterday I started reading a few articles based on information released by Microsoft, and it feels like Microsoft is starting to lower people’s expectation in terms of battery life. It is expected the battery life will be half that of the Surface RT model, possibly giving 4-5 hours on a single charge.

For me the three key features which interests me with the Microsoft tablet are:

1. Compatibility with Windows
2. Extended battery life compared to my ageing netbook
3. Portability

Based on point one I have little interest in the Surface RT model. I’ve mentioned in another post that to me the Surface RT is a product I generally wouldn’t recommend to customers unless they research it well and it meets their requirements. Personally I expect many people will purchase the Surface RT tablet only to realise later all the limitations. However I expect the Surface with Windows Pro will be compatible (largely) with my existing Windows applications and data.

The battery life of the Surface with Windows Pro is now a niggling concern. I don’t expect to achieve more than 4-5 hours of use between recharging. Certainly nowhere near as good as other tablets providing 8 hours or more. The battery life has now put a real dampener on my hopes for the new Surface. That battery life barely matches new lightweight notebooks.

The third is portability. In general the Surface with Windows Pro will meet but not exceed my expectation. It has only become apparent to me just how heavy the tablet is, or perhaps I should say, it isn’t going to be as light as I’d hoped.

A few years ago (about three) I moved my work to a netbook (running Windows XP) which has served me really well. Light compared to notebooks, fast enough for my needs (but now getting a little slow), but the battery life was the biggest limitation at around two hours.  Including the netbook in my travel kit was easy. Now the promise of a lighter device with a longer battery life and better performance is appealing.

I decided to weigh my netbook today to see how the weight compared to the new Surface with Windows Pro. The netbook weighed 1190g. The new Surface with Windows Pro is 907g is an improvement, but not quite as much as I’d expected.

Had the Apple iPad Mini been released for $299 for me it would have been an impulse buy. The iPad Mini would never have achieved Windows compatibility, but in time, I’d rewrite my applications and I’d go down a new path with technology. I felt Apple this time had over priced their Mini and the lack of GPS in the entry level model put me off. The Surface RT is like getting an iPad. Both really are not compatible with my Windows applications and both are quite restricted in their design with the ultimate aim being to lock me in as a user. The Surface with Windows Pro gives me Windows compatibility and almost the same level of openness as Windows does today. Some apps just don’t work unless you have a Microsoft account.

I can live with the shorter tablet battery life. The real problem then is the price . This is not an impulse buy. For me I’d question if the 64GB has sufficient space (given Surface RT feedback shows Windows using 20GB to start with) so I’d probably be bumped to the 128GB model. I could get away without the cover/keyboard as there are lots of other options available, but if I decided on the Surface Touch Cover the price is $139.99 and the Type cover is $149.99.

With the Surface with Windows Pro price in Australia I expect the price to be close to $1,099. Add $139.99 for the Touch Cover and that means a cost expected to be around  $1,239. To me that’s a very expensive tablet and harder to justify.

Microsoft for me have pushed the price to the point where you need to very seriously consider your options. The question is “have they pushed too far?”

In the end it will probably boil down to Windows compatibility, longer battery life and portability. The premium for Windows compatibility is high. If people can avoid Windows compatibility (getting easier as mobile devices displace desktop usage) Microsoft’s tablet strategy may be in tatters. I’ll pay a premium for Windows compatibility and live with an average battery life, but I’m not sure I can quite justify the premium Microsoft is asking.

What will be really interesting is to see what other manufacturers bring to market. If other manufacturers come out with better pricing then as they say, it is game on.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Internet Explorer 10 - The preferred Australian English spelling now available

I’m pretty excited to announce I’m now making available the preferred Australian English spelling file for Internet Explorer 10 running on Windows 8.

Internet Explorer 10 has Australian English spellchecking built in, but like Microsoft’s Office products, the spellchecker accepts thousands of secondary spelling variations such as words with “ize”, American spelt words such as “mom” and some errors. The preferred Australian English spelling file corrects these issues.

If written communication matters to you the preferred Australian English spelling file is a must have. If you’re a student, applying for jobs, or write reports or sales material, the preferred Australian English spelling file is a must have.

You can find the preferred Australian English spelling file for Internet Explorer 10 at www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
The creator of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Origin 25% (25 per cent) off Gas & Electricity offer

I received a letter addressed to “the householder” from Origin Energy offering up to 25% off gas and electricity. This sounds like a lot. However what I find is when you compare the detail sometimes the offer isn’t as good as it sounds and sometimes it really is a good offer.

Comparing offers can be tricky. I find the best way to compare offers is to set up a spreadsheet. I can then enter the my usage and see immediately if this offer is better than others I’ve seen and how it compares to what I’m currently paying.

In my case I just compared the offer to other offers I’ve entered into my spreadsheet and there is another company I’ve look at which is currently $88 better, if I just consider the electricity component. I haven’t yet compared both electricity and gas together.

My main concern with this offer is I don’t have a Smart meter and the offer appears to be for Smart meter owners and I’d prefer not to get a Smart meter installed until the government forces me to. Calling an electricity company for additional information just makes me shudder. I’ve already analysed my usage and reduced our electricity usage to between 6.5-7.5kWh per day so the information the Smart meter provides me will unlikely save me much if anything and the installation costs will consume any potential savings there may or may not be. Reviewing the offers however is wise because sometimes you can save hundreds of dollars. Keep in mind the offer is only for 12 months so at the end of the twelve months expect to move again.

IIf you get offers from gas and electricity companies set up a spreadsheet, plug in your usage data and determine whether or not the offer will save you money or not.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support including spreadsheets.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Windows 8 tip number 1 - The Start Screen

One of the big issues people will have with Windows 8 is it is so different to what they are used to. For me, not being able to go direct to the Desktop, no Start button and no Start menu, was certainly a shock to the system and a productivity killer.

However all you need to do is to change the way you think about things just a little and the whole problem just vanishes.

Think of the Start screen as a very big Start button.

That’s all really. Once you think of the Start screen as the Start button then the Start Menu is the contents of the Start Screen, or at least your most commonly used items.

People generally either start a program by clicking on the program in the Start menu, double clicking on a shortcut on their Desktop, and some may even start the program they have pinned to the Taskbar.

Normally when your computer starts in Windows XP through to Windows 7 you see the Desktop and start a program. Now with Windows 8 the Start screen appears and to start your program you click on a tile for the program. Move your most popular programs to the left of the Start screen and you have almost instant access to your main programs. The Desktop will automatically open and the program run.

 

You can still create shortcuts on your Desktop and pin programs to the taskbar and that can help make things move along quicker. But if you haven’t, a single press of the Windows key when in Desktop mode flips you to the Start screen. Press the Windows key again and you’ll toggle back to the Desktop. The only time this doesn’t work is when you haven’t first started the Desktop.

Until I thought of the Start screen as a really big Start button to me it was a nuisance and just got in the way. Once I changed how I thought about the Start screen the issue disappeared. Nothing needed to be changed except how to view things.

Yep the Start button is gone from the Desktop (you can move your mouse to the very bottom left and the Start screen image will appear for you to click) but pressing the Windows key to me is faster anyway.

We all tend to hate change and grumble when faced with it. But look back and if you’re a Windows 7, Vista, or XP user, just remember you once used Windows 98, 95 and Windows 3.x, and the fact you don’t even think about them now is the same as you won’t think about Windows 8 user interface in the near future, you’ll just use it.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding suburbs.


MyAnswers: How to remove your credit card details from your Apple App Store account.

The following MyAnswers solution 2287 is now available:

There are over 400 million Apple accounts with credit card details kept online. I rarely make a purchase so I'd rather not have my credit card details online. How I removed my credit card details from my Apple App Store account.


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alert: Jetstar Flight Itinerary - Your Itinerary is attached as file to print

I received six emails to different email addresses with the subject “Jetstar Flight Itinerary”. When I receive multiple emails I investigate and inform clients via this blog if there is an issue such as malware.

The attached file “Jetstar Flight Itinerary-1591163243.pdf.zip” contains malware.

 

Sixteen out of forty four antivirus providers identified this as malware.

You should immediately delete these emails.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alert: Malware FedEx Shipment Notification from reveals a number of bugs in Windows 8 and/or Outlook 2010.

NOTE: If you receive an email from FedEx with an attachment treat the email as malware. In this case the email did have malware attached. But to my surprise, as part of my reviewing the malware attachment I found a number of issues with Windows 8 and/or Outlook 2010 which to me are just as important.

The investigation of the malware received via email with the subject “FedEx Shipment Notification” started off in the same way as usual. When I see multiple emails sent to my email addresses I let others know via my blog. New malware is rarely handled by antivirus software so it represents an exposure for clients.

Using Windows 8/Outlook 2010 I saved the file to a folder on my desktop. The structure of the attachment is typical of malware. A file which looks like a potentially harmless file (in this case a PDF) but with the extension exe which means it is actually a program and usually malicious.

I then submitted the file for analysis and it was not identified as malware. That was strange. I then attempted to extract the contents of the zip file which failed. Again strange. But I just assumed this was a poorly formed file and the author of the email/malware had not created a correctly structure file. I’ve seen this before. But something didn’t feel right. More emails arrived so I decided to investigate further.

I pulled out my Windows XP computer running Outlook 2007 and performed the same steps. This time the attachment was reported as malware and I could extract the contents of the zip file. Windows 8 was for some reason failing to save the file correctly. In one way that is good because the file is thus corrupted and can’t be used to infect the user’s computer. But bad in that Windows 8 is not operating as expected. (It appears the zip file has been created as a multi-volume archive which fails in Windows 8 but is acceptable in Windows XP.)

In addition, when saving the file the first time, as expected for a new file, I wasn’t prompted after I pressed the Save button. But then I went to save the file a second time to replace the file I had already saved and there was no warning the file existed. On the Windows XP computer saving over an existing file gave the prompt asking if I wanted to overwrite the existing file.

I created a new file in Windows 8 with the filename the same as the malware (“Tracking_results_as_of_Nov28.pdf.zip”) but with my own content and sent the file to myself via email. I saved once and as expected no prompt. I save a second time and there was no prompt to overwrite the existing file.

To me this is a real concern. Potentially if a file has a certain name users may inadvertently overwrite an existing file without warning and that is not good. I did some testing and don’t yet know which filenames will overwrite without warning so at this stage all I can do is warn people to be careful when saving a file to your computer. At this stage I’ve only found the problem to occur when saving from Outlook 2010.

In summary;

- The FedEx Shipment Notification I received and currently being sent via email does contain attached malware.
- Under Windows 8 the attached file does not open and appears corrupted but does open correctly under Windows 8. This raises the question as to why files can be extracted under Windows XP but not under Windows 8.
- When saving the file from Outlook 2010/Windows 8 the file can be saved twice with no warning to overwrite. This raises the question as to whether other files can be overwritten without warning.

Recommendations:

- Delete any suspicious FedEx Shipment Notifications with suspicious attachments.
- If you received a legitimate zip file but it appears to be corrupt under Windows 8, forward the email to a Windows XP computer and try extracting the contents on the Windows XP computer.
- When saving a file from Outlook 2010/Windows 8 double check to see if a file with the same name already exists. As a precaution you can save the file to a new folder.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you have a computer related problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Alert: PayPal Balance Summary - Notification of payment received (from PayPal) fake

I received a couple of “Notification of payment received’ with a PayPal Balance Summary a short while ago. The content itself appears to be a copy of a PayPal email sent to an Australian user. Links all look OK except it has the email address of the recipient which isn’t obviously correct.

The attachment is a zip file “PayPal_balance_Summary.zip” which contains malware.

You should immediately delete these emails.

If you need to check your PayPal balance you should use your browser and log on. Always treat emails with suspicion and don’t click on links.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Alert: Vodafone PXT (picture message)

I received a number of emails with the subject “Vodafone PXT (picture message)”.

The emails is faked and aims to trick a recipient to think that have received a picture message from Vodafone with the following message:

“You have received a picture message from mobile number +6143xxxxxxx
To save this PXT, please save attached file.

You can send a PXT to any PXT capable phone in Australia or New Zealand and any email address anywhere in the world. You can send to more than one person at a time. PXT is as easy as TXT, but much more fun”

The email has an attachment which is a zip file and contains the executable file “PXTpicture-message.jpeg.exe”. As you can see the file is designed to look like a jpeg or image file. I recommend that all users should enable the display of the file extensions for all files so it is more obvious the file is an executable file. When file extensions of known files is disabled people are more easily tricked.

You should immediately delete these emails. According to the site I use to review potential malware, so far only one out of 44 antivirus software packages identify the software indicating this malware has just been released. It usually takes 24-48 hours before antivirus software companies have identified new malware and the update is acquired by the user.

Take care.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Supporting residents and businesses in Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Apple Australia one day sale.

The promotion for the Apple Australia one day sale has started to appear. The strange time for the start of the sale I suspect aligns with a time in the USA. The time corresponds to 9am on the East coast of the United States.

For Australia the time is as follows:

"Consumers can buy goods from selected Apple retailers, Apple online or through the iPhone Apple Store app for only 24 hours (2:01am AEDT, November 23 to 1:59am AEDT, November 24). "

Make sure you check your prices. Also keep an eye on Apple reseller prices as well.

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Microsoft's attempt to lock people into their services in Windows 8 is quite frustrating

Microsoft’s Steve Balmer is quoted as saying the following:

During a recent conversation with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman at a Churchill Club event, Ballmer said: “The ecosystem of Android is a little wild,” highlighting the rise of malware on the operating system, and the multiple devices from various companies including Amazon, Samsung and Google that run it.

“Conversely, Apple’s system looks highly controlled and quite high prices,” said Ballmer. “How do you get quality at a premium price with not quite as controlled ecosystem." - MacWorld.com.au


When you first install Windows 8 you are prompted for a Microsoft account. This in theory enables your settings to follow you, which is technically quite clever and good. But what if you don’t want a Microsoft account. That’s OK, you can go ahead without an account. So far so good.

Now you’ve set up and want to use the Mail app. Guess what. You need an account to get past the first screen. There’s no need to have an account if you don’t use Microsoft’s mail services which I currently don’t. Very few people I know actually do use Microsoft’s mail services apart from Hotmail users, but certainly not most business users.

I decided to check the calendar and messaging apps. If I just want a local calendar I’d expect to be able to use the calendar app. Nope. I need an account. With the messaging app I’ll accept if you want to use Microsoft messenger (which they’re now making obsolete) you’d need an account, but what if you use another service. What good is the messaging app.

 

To me this is pretty disappointing. Microsoft is progressively screwing people down and locking them into their products. Apple did this very successfully and now Microsoft appears to have seen the light and following suit. The problem is Microsoft doesn’t get it. Their strength is in that they haven’t tied people down. Copying Apple’s approach means they’ll only ever be second.

The new Microsoft Surface RT tablet really locks things down and significantly restricts functionality. I’d not recommend the Microsoft Surface RT tablet to anyone and I’d be sure many people who by the tablet on impulse will end up being disappointed. They won’t know of the limitations until they later found out their Office RT software isn’t licensed for work use and is crippled in many important ways such as no ability to run macros in Excel. The Mail app really is the app that kills the Surface RT tablet for me. I need clients to be able to run a range of mail services and since it can’t correctly handle IMAP and there is no other obvious mail client choice that’s the end of the Microsoft Surface RT device.

As Microsoft turns their back on Windows XP users, dumped Outlook Express users, doesn’t handle IMAP correctly in most of their email products, it really makes you start to wonder if they even consider their users. An estimated 100 million or more current Windows XP user’s machines won’t even be able to be upgraded to Windows 8. That’s a huge slap in the face for loyal Windows users. I don’t know of any other business that would get away with such arrogance.

Microsoft products are very good products, but I’m now finding it hard to back them when their interest is so clearly focused on themselves instead of their user base. In IT we only exist because of our users. Microsoft needs to go back to basics.

In Windows 8 let people start up at the Desktop if they want to. Provide an email client that doesn’t require people to sign up with a Microsoft account. Get IMAP to work properly. IMAP works perfectly on Android and iOS devices. My latest technology products aren’t Microsoft based and if I didn’t have to support clients, my need to have a Microsoft product is quickly diminishing. I was looking forward to the Microsoft Surface tablet running the full version of Windows 8 when it is released next year but now I’m starting to wonder. For a person who has lived and breathed Microsoft products for decades that should be a real concern to Microsoft.

Sadly only a few small a few small changes are required by Microsoft which would enhance my experience greatly.

 

1.       Let people start up in Desktop mode on their Windows 8 PCs if they want to.

2.       Change the Windows key so that pressing it will take you immediately to the Desktop when you start your computer.

3.       Fix the Mail app so it works correctly with IMAP. Whilst you’re at it fix Outlook so it also correctly works with IMAP.

4.       Let people install their own apps without having to go through the app store. This is lock in to make Microsoft money (30% commission) and restricts how and what small developers deliver to their clients.

5.       Make Internet Explorer 9 or 10 available for Windows XP users.

6.       Look after your customers and stop trying to force people to upgrade when they don’t have to. Their computers will eventually die and you’ll keep the customer.

7.       Make it easier to shut down a Windows 8 computer with a minimum number of steps. Windows XP/7 takes two obvious clicks. Now it’s an annoyance.

8.       Make Windows 8 compatible with computers older than 2005. There are over a hundred million computers still running that can’t be upgraded and frankly, if people are forced to upgrade their computer I wouldn’t blame them for looking at a Mac or a low cost Android tablet.


It may already be too late for Microsoft. They’ve already damaged their relationship with many of their users by damaging the experience for Outlook Express and Windows XP users. Their only saving grace is Google Android still isn’t a good product and Apple have resorted to their old policy of keeping prices high since Steve Jobs passed away. If Google gets their act together that could be the end of Microsoft. For me all that means is for Google to have an identical experience on their Android Chrome browser as they do on the desktop and it is game over for Microsoft and Apple. Luckily for Microsoft and Apple Google is more interested in advertising revenue and not software development.

The quote above from Steve Balmer where he says: “how do you get quality at a premium price with not quite as controlled eco system” highlights the flaw in Steve’s thinking. Steve wants people to pay more and have more control. As consumers we want to pay less and not be controlled. Steve is only justifying higher prices and making money from app store commissions. That isn’t how the Microsoft eco system has worked. We the users have had good prices, lots of choice and not much control. I personally like it that way. I’m not a fan of Google products but their approach is providing consumers with more choice and better prices. That is a hard combination to beat and unless Microsoft rethinks their approach, they won’t be able to beat Google.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding areas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

MyAnswers: PDF icons go black on Windows 8 Desktop

The following MyAnswers solution 2283 is now available:

PDF icons go black on Windows 8 Desktop. How to fix.


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Is it the beginning of the end for OpenOffice?

At one stage I was very enthusiast about open source software. I put hundreds, if not thousands of hours of effort in. For example I wrote over a thousand responses to people’s issues, created a number of open source products such as the Australian English dictionaries using by OpenOffice, Firefox and Google Chrome, but in the end there were issues which concerned me greatly.

I found the promoted benefit of problems being quickly fixed was perceived and not real. As an example when Mozilla released a new version of Firefox the British dictionary stopped working for weeks. After a couple of weeks I put a patched dictionary on my site. It was less than half an hour’s work and yet tens, if not hundreds of thousands of users were inconvenienced for a matter of many weeks.

I found with OpenOffice.org at one stage they’d push beta product onto users as though it was production ready. If problems were found they would not openly admit to the problems. Open source wasn’t particularly open.

I found with OpenOffice.org there was known corruption of Microsoft Access databases. I lost a considerable amount of work resulting in many hours of work. This corruption was known about for a long time but users were never informed.

For me however the biggest problem is open source creates a leech like mentality. Most people take. A few people take and give back what they want, but they rarely if ever back to the people who assist them. For example Google used my work in their Google Chrome browser. If Google had of provided a live link back to my work it would have had considerable value. Unfortunately Google took the work and buried it deep within their project so very people even know someone else has done the work.

As a person working in IT I felt open source was not sustainable. Good people will contribute for a while and then realise for all their energy they’d get little if anything in return. For users it is great as they get free (as in no cost) software, but developers need to live and without something coming back, most developers will eventually move on as I did. The good thing for open source is there is always another developer around the corner thinking things will be different for them, until enough people end up with the same experience and word gets around.

From a business perspective the cost of the software is not a great outlay when spread over three years. Commercial software in general is much better than open source software, but there are times when the high cost commercial packages, where only a small amount of function is required, can be replaced with open source software. For the open source software I use I contributed a small donation. Frankly I think this was a waste of money, but I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do. Would I do it again, probably not.

I saw the big organisations take up OpenOffice.org when I was focused on open source software, but in around 2008 I started to move on. OpenOffice.org was not meeting my client’s needs whereas Microsoft Office did. Linux as a file server had become more difficult to use and Microsoft’s Windows 7 used in the same way did a much better job with much less effort.

Now some years later we are starting to see those high profile sites to come to the same realisation as I did back in 2008.

German city says OpenOffice shortcomings are forcing it back to Microsoft... Read More

I can’t help but wonder about the future of open source projects. Google has poured a huge amount of resources into Android (people wouldn’t even know it was based on Linux) and yet I still find I can’t even use the Android browsers to run Google’s own software such as their blogging software. I use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer under Windows and have no problems.

As people find they have an Android mobile or tablet, which is only a year or so old, and they can’t upgrade to the latest version of the operating system, the Android operating system may start to go out of favour. If Microsoft and Apple can hang in there long enough (as Microsoft have done with Office versus OpenOffice.org) we may just see the interest in Android devices wane. For me the only real advantage of Android at the moment is cost. Like open source software if I only have a basic need, a lower cost suits. But if I need more and it is justified, using Android devices (which I generally find to be flaky) will often be a second choice option.

I recently checked out the ASUS Nexus 7 tablet and compared it to the iPad Mini. The Nexus is cheaper but what surprised me is when comparing the two devices, the Apple iPad Mini just felt better. The scrolling of the web page in the browser was smooth whereas the scrolling in the Nexus didn’t feel right. The screen of the iPad Mini looked better. The Nexus has features I’d prefer and with Apple, would end up being twice as much. Not an easy decision.

I also dropped into the Telstra shop one night to check out the Samsung Galaxy Note (note the edition just released) and to my surprise the scrolling in the browser was sluggish and frequently paused. Something I didn’t experience on the Apple devices.

The focus on open source software appears to now be receding and commercial software has managed to fend off a formidable foe. Perhaps it is because most open source software simply copies and doesn’t innovate. Is Android, which is based on open source software, destined to go the same way.

At the moment Android is getting a lot of press. Supposedly Android has a huge market share. Was it something in the order of 50-70% of the market. Yet my logs show me Android has around of fifth of the traffic of Apple’s iOS devices. A paltry couple of per cent of the internet traffic is generated by Android devices. Isn’t that why Google created Android? To generate traffic for them because their business model is based on advertising.

When you purchase your next mobile phone or tablet perhaps think about how long you’ll have the device. Do you want to upgrade the device to the next edition of the operating system? My ageing iPhone 3GS bought around three years ago is running iOS6, albeit without all the new functionality, but at least it has been updated. Apple’s original iPad can’t be upgraded and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 devices can’t be upgrade, so there’s no guarantee their products will also be able to be upgraded, but I’m pretty sure my Acer Android tablet which is under a year old won’t see a newer operating system. To me that’s a major problem with Android devices, unless you already have the mindset that you don’t expect to upgrade the device.

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

New site for The Preferred Australian English spellcheck dictionary

Recently Google changed their algorithm which significantly impacted the position of the Australian English spellcheck dictionary in the Google search results. From number one position to nowhere to be found. In essence traffic to the site dropped 80% overnight. This should be a warning for anyone who puts a lot of time and money into obtaining a position in Google. All your time, energy and money could be wasted overnight by decisions Google makes in terms of generating traffic to your site.

The preferred Australian English spellcheck dictionary is the only free service available to Australians to assist them with using the preferred Australian English spelling. Over a thousand people a week used the site and Google simply changed their algorithm making the page almost impossible to find. The original page will remain (www.justlocal.com.au/clients/oooau), but in addition, you can now find the main page at www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au.

 

The site www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au will become the main site for my dictionary work.

 

You can still find the main page if searching (“Australian Dictionary”) using Bing, where the site is positioned in first position and in Yahoo where the site is positioned second. My apologies for any inconvenience. What Google does is outside of my control.

I hope you find my work to be of assistance.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au   

Monday, November 19, 2012

MyAnswers: Free eBooks for Android, PC and Apple iOS users.

The following MyAnswers solution 2282 is now available:

Free eBooks for Android, PC and Apple users. Recently I helped a couple of customers who had purchased low cost Android tablets from Aldi. The surprise was that in order to get free eBooks from the Android Playstore, they needed to supply a credit card and they weren't happy to do that. This solution shows you how to obtain tens of thousands of free eBooks for Android tablets (and other devices) without providing your credit card details.


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: How to save a PDF in Internet Exploer 10 under Windows 8.

The following MyAnswers solution 2281 is now available:

In Windows 8 using Internet Explorer 10 I've opened a PDF. There is no apparent way to save the PDF. How can I save the PDF?


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Skype free unlimited worldwide telephone calls for a month.

Just read on the internet about Skype’s offer of free unlimited calls for a month. This offer can only be redeemed on the 15th of November 2012. It is now after 9am on the 16th in Melbourne Australia so if this offer is valid and applies to Australia, then you need to act quickly.

Free worldwide calls for a month... Read More

You need to subscribe to the service for one month. I’ve found these offers often encourage people to sign up and then they forget so they keep getting charged. Make sure you record the date for the end of the trial or set a reminder in your calendar a day or two before the trial is up if you wish to cancel.

In my case I have $13.02 credit. Don’t know what will happen to this credit. Hopefully I won’t lose it, but since I want to test if this offer is legitimate and works in Australia I’ll take a hit for the team. The amount normally charged for the plan for a month is $13.49.

Enjoy,

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

UPDATE: Confirmation of free trial by Skype. This appears to be working. Now for a test call. Local call went through with no charge. Successful test. Note. The call quality was good but there was a delay at the start such that the person didn’t hear my introduction when I called them. I heard their response.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

MyAnswers: Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device. This device is currently in use.

The following MyAnswers solution 2280 is now available:

Windows 8 message: Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device. This device is currently in use. Close any programs or windows that might be using the device and then try again.  This message occurred when trying to eject a USB drive that had been used but no programs were now using it.


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: How do I scan a file for malware under Windows 8?

The following MyAnswers solution 2279 is now available:

How do I scan a file for malware under Windows 8?


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Alert: Telstra - You have received a new message





I received three emails this morning to different email addresses all pretending to be from Telstra with the message:

"You have received a picture message from mobile number +61
To save this picture, please save attached file."

There is an attached zip file most likely some form of malware.

You should delete these emails.


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

ASUS Nexus 7 32GB tablet now available in Australia

I read the press release from ASUS which I found interesting for two reasons.

"ASUS today advises that a 32GB Nexus 7 tablet is now available in Australian retail stores, offering even more storage options for the popular 7inch, quad-core tablet featuring Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Nexus 7 is designed to go wherever you go – and now with up to 32GB of storage, the Nexus 7 can take users even further. The new 32GB model will be available for purchase for a recommended price of AUD$319; the 16GB model will continue to be sold in Australia for AUD$269."

The first is it would be good if ASUS would also publish this information on their site and for their site to contain the latest information. The site only mentions the 8GB/16GB models so has not been updated to reflect the latest information. For me this reflects poorly on ASUS.

The second is the pricing. The Google Play store lists the 16GB/32GB models for $249 and $299 respectively. This is certainly going to put retailers with stores at a disadvantage and potentially hurt their reputation. In the end stores will probably price match so perhaps not a big deal.

I did notice one online site selling the Nexus 7 for $229/$269 for the 16GB/32GB units respectively, so it does pay to shop around on the Internet.

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Has Apple made a mistake with the iPad Mini?

The iPad Mini has now been released and to me there are a number of glaring shortcomings which other tablet manufacturers can easily exploit as weaknesses. The first is the lack of the high quality retina display, the second is the lack of the GPS in the wireless only model and the third is the price.

For the iPad Mini to really succeed in my opinion it needed to produce a leading edge product and in this case it hasn’t. This could be deliberate. Had Apple provided the same retina display for the iPad Mini as they do for the New iPad (iPad 3/4) then it may have eaten into the full size iPad sales considerably. People wanting an iPad now have a choice based on the display. The problem however is with the lower resolution display the iPad Mini isn’t a leader and for Apple that isn’t a good thing.

Before the iPad Mini was released there was a lot of hype with regards to price. Prices as low as $199 were being bandied around in the media. When Apple released the original iPad they surprised me. Apple isn’t known for being a price leader and I felt they’d far exceeded my expectation on price in terms of setting a new lower price point. Apple has excellent margins on their devices, so even at the lower price point they still have great margins. However at $359 the price isn’t at the psychological price point of being under the $299 mark.

For me the one glaring omission is the entry level unit doesn’t come with GPS built in. I’ve read the chip to add 3G/GPS is just $20. The 3G could be disabled and the GPS left enabled and that would make the iPad Mini an excellent mapping device. Now to get GPS included in an iPad Mini it means a starting price of $509. The 16GB Nexus 7 with GPS is under half the price at $249.

Apple is no doubt in a hard place. Too cheap and the iPad Mini eats into either iPad sales or iPod Touch sales. Too expensive and people will seriously consider other brand products. The lack of a GPS built into the entry level iPad Mini is to me a serious limitation and once people become aware, sales could easily be affected.

If Apple is to remain untouchable in the marketplace they need to bring out leading edge products. If they don’t, other companies will.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

 

MyAnswers: Windows 8 Mail won't work unless I have sign up for a Microsoft account.

The following MyAnswers solution 2278 is now available:
Windows 8 Mail won't work unless I have sign up for a Microsoft account. How can I use my own POP3 email service? If I cancel I get the message: "Mail You aren't signed in with a Microsoft account. To use Mail, sign in with a Microsoft account and try again."

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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: WordPress blog infected and cleaned, but still contains links to unwanted sites.

The following MyAnswers solution 2277 is now available:

WordPress blog infected. Host has repaired infected files but the source code of the main page still shows the the site is not clean. For example the source code shows links to sites relating to Viagra. How to find the code in the WordPress files.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

MyAnswers: Add Notepad to the Send To context menu in Windows 8.

The following MyAnswers solution 2276 is now available:

How to add Notepad to the Send To context menu in Windows 8. That is, when you right click on a file you can use the Send To option to open the file using Notepad.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MyAnswers: Windows 8/IE10. Script Error. An error has occurred in the script on this page.

The following MyAnswers solution 2275 is now available:

With Internet Explorer 10 I receive the error "Script Error. An error has occurred in the script on this page. Permission denied." This previously worked under Internet Explorer 8. The error occurs for the line containing "external.menuArguments.location.href".


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: How to resend an email in Outlook 2010.

The following MyAnswers solution 2274 is now available:

How do I resend an email in Outlook 2010?


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

MyAnswers: How I removed System Progressive Protection from a client's machine today.

The following MyAnswers solution 2273 is now available:

How I removed System Progressive Protection malware from a client's machine today.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: Windows Media Center not included in Windows 8 Pro upgrade.

The following MyAnswers solution 2272 is now available:

Windows Media Center not included in Windows 8 Pro upgrade.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

MyAnswers: Tested Windows Remote Assistance under Windows 8 to TeamViewer under Windows 8

The following MyAnswers solution 2269 is now available:

Tested Windows Remote Assistance under Windows 8 to TeamViewer under Windows 8 running the local machine on ADSL and the remote machine using a 3G service.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

International WISE COUNSEL site developed by Online Connections

Many businesses do not have a web presence and it is my belief that every business should have at a minimum a single page site to promote their business on the internet. Whilst many people will charge many hundreds of dollars to develop a site with no guarantee the site will generate any revenue, that approach I take is very simple and cost effective. Build minimal presence and then as you find the site is generating revenue, reinvest in your site.

There are three elements to having a site. You need to have a web site address which reflects your business name or business activity. This is called a domain. The domain for International WISE COUNSEL is wise-counsel.com.au and so people can find International WISE COUNSEL at www.wise-counsel.com.au. The second element is the page or pages others will see on the internet. The third element is you need a company to host the page. There is a fourth element which is separate from the site but should be considered at the same time. This is your email hosting. Make sure you can use your domain name for your emails as well. Many people miss this important marketing opportunity. An email address using your domain reinforces you brand and people will check out your site when they receive an email. A Gmail or Hotmail email account makes your business look unprofessional and small. An email in your business name promotes your business and not the email provider’s business.

International WISE COUNSEL already had the domain which was being used for their emails. The hosting was set up which included their email accounts they required. The page for the site was developed based on an existing promotional document. The trick in keeping your costs low is to use material you already have. I used the existing material and reproduced the document on the internet. For a basic page you should allow one to two hours. The total cost including setting up a single page site including setting up the hosting should be around two to three hours. In addition you may need some time to set up your email accounts on your computers.

I then promoted International WISE COUNSEL’s site and within a day the site was on the front page of Google. As International WISE COUNSEL have others link to their site over time, their site will gradually replace other sites in Google search results which refer to International WISE COUNSEL. International WISE COUNSEL’s site will then enable their customers to see the information they want them to see.

One aspect people often don’t consider when setting up their internet presence is who has control of their site. Many people make the mistake of allowing their web developer/designer to set the site up for them and often the business doesn’t even own the content or even their domain. A big mistake in my opinion. My approach is to work with the client. I assist them to purchase the domain in their name. I help them set up their hosting in their name. The page created is a once off page unique to them and I assign copyright to them. This means the business is free to use whomever they wish to in the future to support them and are not tied to me in any way. The client retains control and ownership over all aspects of their site. The client only uses my services because they chose to, not because they have to.

If you would like a site to promote your business and don’t want to pay a fortune, then give Online Connections a call on 0415 910 703. Whilst I generally promote my business locally, I can assist people with their online presence no matter where in the world they are located.  

 

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.

MyAnswers: Windows 8 Mail application limitation with attachments

The following MyAnswers solution 2268 is now available:

Windows 8 Mail application has a serious limitation with attachments which means it may not be sufficient for business use.


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

MyAnswers: Windows 8 doesn't fully run Visual Basic 6 (VB6) applications

The following MyAnswers solution 2267 is now available:

Windows 8 runs OzEfilter (which was developed using VB6) but OzEfilter does not completely work. OzEfilter is not able to check the email server and thus effectively from a functionality point of view OzEfilter does not work under Windows 8.,


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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)