Saturday, December 27, 2014

Business Coach Melbourne site demonstrates three approaches I've created for clients.

The site www.MelbourneCoach.Business has been created for three reasons in addition to promoting Gary Hipworth when people search for Business Coach Melbourne in Google.

  1. An example of taking a PDF brochure and rewriting the brochure as a website to demonstrate a low cost way to quickly achieve an online presence.
  2. Incorporating Virtual Profit Sharing techniques where those provided a code can refer people to Gary Hipworth and generate a passive income stream.
  3. Using the new top level domains and taking advantage of website addresses that would not otherwise be available.

A low cost way to quickly have an online presence

I often find many smaller businesses reluctant to approach a web developer to create an online presence for them and for very good reason. I've seen one business have their domain only registered for them at a cost of $500. I've seen one business pay over $5,000 for what was a couple of pages as a front end for their online shop where the online shop was provided by a supplier for the business and needed no work by the web developer. When the business wanted to move and use the logo they had created for them as part of the cost they were held to ransom for $11,000 for the rights to use their logo. Web developers often register domains and hosting services so that clients are tied to them and if there's a problem, it can be very expensive to move on. Certainly the need to use a web developer can be enough to put any business off once you hear of horror stories like this or worse.

For my clients I'm happy to quickly create a web presence to get them going on the internet. However my approach does require the client to have existing material I can use. It is amazing how much time can be spent when a client says they want a website but have no material on which to base their site. Time is money and the more you can be prepared the quicker the task can be completed. I ask for a Word document, or in this case a PDF, the client would be happy to represent their business on the internet. It doesn't need to be perfect, but it does need to be close to complete with no additional editing of the text of the document and the required graphics need to be present.

I asked Gary Hipworth who is a senior business adviser if he could assist me by providing an example I could use to create a site to promote his business. Gary provided a PDF and I used the PDF to create the website www.MelbourneCoach.Business. It took around 1-1.5 hours to create the content for the site so the cost for the website content in this case would be $120-$180. The domain was $17.95 per year and I used my hosting. Hosting for this site would be around $10 per month. I own this site but normally the client would own the site and the content since the content was theirs. No tie in back to me so they could move their site to whichever developer they wanted in the future.

Virtual Profit Sharing to provide those referring with a passive income stream

Designed into the site are a couple of features which enables Gary to determine the referral source of a new customer that comes via the website, or someone referring a person to the website. Opening up your business to referrals in this way increases the potential for new business which helps you and the person referring. For some businesses referrals come very easy, but for others I've often found no one refers. For example tradies seem to get referrals easily, whereas as an IT consultant/support person people simply don't seem to refer. People are exceptionally happy with the service but the opportunity to refer doesn't present itself as often. It is a good idea to make referring easier so referrals are more likely to happen.

It should be kept in mind the referral mechanism isn't watertight but that is because people tend to make contact in a number of ways and when they do make contact, often they forget where they got the contact details from. The Virtual Profit Sharing approach however increases the chances of the contact being traced back to the referrer in a number of ways.

Now Top Level Domains may be an opportunity or not

New Top Level Domains (TLDs) are now being released in their hundreds. We're all used to the early TLDs such as .com and, but these new TLDs may be an opportunity or waste of money. The website www.MelbourneCoach.Business is a test of using one such TLD.

I'm in the process of testing whether the use of the new TLDs offer an advantage in Google organic search results or not. However ideally you should pick a domain which matches your business requirements. Google may or may not generate you business and even if it does, at any point Google can just as easily take that stream of new business away. That's not a good long term strategy. But sometimes with the right SEO techniques you can have an advantage that is financially worthwhile. So sometimes it is worth seeing if you can find that advantage.

If you're a client of Online Connections and need a low cost website, or would like to explore the world of new TLDs, feel free to contact me.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Skype real-time translator English-Spanish is available for public preview from Microsoft.

Over the years Skype has been a very useful product/service, particularly when I've been travelling. When travelling I call home, family and friends using Skype to landlines. It works well and is cost effective. No bill shock involved when using Skype.

This latest feature isn't something I feel I have a need for, but who knows when a real-time translator could come in handy. I currently have one client who uses a translation service and I've shown a number of clients Google translate. At one time I used Google translate to convert text in another language to English, so even though we may not expect to use a translator, having such a tool in your bag of tricks can come in handy.

So far it looks like the preview is available for English to Spanish and Spanish to English for voice communication and 40 languages for text chats. It will be interesting to watch this technology unfold.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Google's Chromium OS and how open source software can be a huge waste of time.

Google builds the Chrome OS (operating system) and makes it available on Chromebooks. Now there's a lot of older computers that could easily run this operating system and Google runs the open source Chromium project where you can find the code. You would it would be an easy matter of downloading Chromium OS and using it to run a PC.

I decided to investigate this option. The first thing you find out is the project doesn't have any compiled version for people to simply install as their operating system on their older PC. Next you go hunting and you find the recommended compilations.

The first highly recommend version I found had a good site but on closer inspection the software hadn't been updated since the start of 2013. Looks like another dead project with no future. The open source ecosystem is littered with dead projects. People start them, make no money so just abandon them. Someone else may then take up the project and in time often the same thing happens again. There's little money to be made so little incentive to continue to maintain. Google's Chrome browser for example still uses the version I created which was somewhere around 2007 before I ditched the open source project for the same reason and decided to start again on a commercial basis.

OK. Try another site. I found one and started the process. First you need to download the file. Then you need to download and install a program to decompress the file because, well, open source projects don't tend to use the common zip format which would make life easier. Then you decompress the file. But now you need to download and install yet another program to create a bootable USB drive so you can run the operating system from a USB drive.

Finally ready to go. Set the computer to boot up from the USB drive and let's go for it. It starts booting up and things look good. Then an error message appears and nothing. The computers locked up. Zero result and the site states they won't look into it not working on your machine.

With open source there's a lot of wasted time hunting through the good from the bad. Project won't admit when they're dead. People take code from all over the place calling it their own. In the end you waste a great deal of time.

If you're consider using open source software stick with the major projects that have been around for some time. These project often use open source project to support their work and it isn't their source of revenue so the project will often continue as long as the business continues. There are a number of open source projects that have been around for a long time and the software can be quite good such as Gimp on Windows. Steer clear of the Mac version which is a waste of time.

Overall I find commercial software does most of what I want and I'm happy to pay for the software. The hours you can waste on open source software can be huge so do take care if you go down that path.

As for Chromium OS on an old PC. I think I'll just skip that option for the time being. However for my clients I'll continue to investigate as many options as I can in case they provide better value or can end up saving some clients money. It really is about working out what works and what doesn't work and providing a cost effective professional solution. Most of the time this is commercial software, but on the odd occasion an open source project can provide a solution that meets a client's need.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Do you have recovery disks for your computer should the hard disk fail?

Recently I repaired a client's computer. The hard disk had failed meaning everything had gone. The computer itself was good and reasonably fast for a computer around 5-6 years old, so the decision was made to replace the hard disk and reinstall everything.

A new hard disk of the same size was $55 and it only takes a couple of minutes to install. Unfortunately there was no recovery disk for the operating system. It was decided to purchase a copy of Windows 8.1 which cost $123. Had the recovery disks been available this cost could have been avoided.

When you purchase a new computer you'll often find you either receive a set of disks which provide the ability to recover the computer, or there is an option where you can burn your own set of recovery disks. It is a good idea to make sure you have a set of recovery disks. If your hard disk fails, your operating system gets corrupted beyond repair, or you get a serious malware infection where it may be quicker to restore your computer than remove the malware, the recovery disks can be the fastest and cheapest ways to recover your computer.

Do you have recovery disks for your computer?

If you don't, then think about creating a set today. Think of the recovery disks as insurance for your computer. You may never need them, but if you do, you'll be glad you took the time to create them.

Once the computer had the new disk installed, and Windows 8.1 operating system installed, it was simply a matter of time to install the software the client had, set up all their applications, printer, internet and email access. The client hadn't performed a backup so their data was lost.

Do you have a current backup of your important data?

The recovery disks should enable you to recover your computer back to when it was new. However your own files you create are often more important than the computer itself. So do make sure you have a copy of your important data such as documents and photos you've created. A regular backup done based on your needs can mean the difference between losing everything, or having a copy of most things. If you don't have a backup program I wrote the MyBackup utility ( which enables me to create backup routines for clients and you're welcome to use the utility for your needs.

Save yourself some heartache and money, and make sure you have or create a set of restore disks and even consider performing a backup today.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support
Also www.Computer-Repairs.Melbourne.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Beware of the low cost entry level computers and tablets being sold by retailers.

There's some really good priced cheap computers available from retailers and it would be very tempting to replace your old, or perhaps broken computer with a new and inexpensive computer. Prices seem to have come down dramatically.

The problem is this is largely perception. The low cost entry level computers and tablets often have very slow processors. Even the more expensive computers available from retailers may not be as fast as you think.

As an example, I got a call from a person who purchased a great portable unit overseas which they loved. The problem is the unit was too slow. I checked the processor and found it was a very slow processor.  The person then decided based on advice from a person who worked at a major computer company to upgrade the memory and were initially quite pleased. A month or so later they came back and said the computer was still far too slow. Memory can often help but sometimes you have to think are you throwing good money into a computer that ultimately will still be too slow.

I've just compared fixing a computer for a client (the hard disk has died) with a new low cost computer. I have to say it is a hard call. The computer is a around five years old and came with Windows Vista. I'm the first to say save your money and put it into a new computer, but sometimes the budget won't stretch. When I checked the low cost computers some had processors much slower than their five year old computer. Those that were fast were a few hundred dollars more expensive than repairing the computer. If it was only the hard disk there would be no question, but there's labour and because the operating system disks didn't exist, there's also a copy of Windows 8.1. So the decision could easily go either way. Ultimately the choice is the customer's, which in this case was to keep the computer.

Another example is a client decided to purchase a new super fast computer on the spur of the moment. Their Windows XP computer was giving them grief and Windows XP was coming to the end of support. They purchased a new computer from a well known retailer who said the computer was one of their fastest. When I compared the brand new computer to their old XP computer that was over seven years old, the new processor was only about 20% faster. This was a bad purchase with bad advice from the retailer, as for the same price they could have purchased a computer that ran 300% faster.

I've heard another salesperson at a retailer tell and elderly couple the processor speed doesn't matter as they're much the same.

This is bad advice and means people are being guided into making poor purchasing decisions. Clients are welcome to contact me and I'll show them how to compare processor speeds. The processor is one of the main decision points when purchasing a computer. Salespeople are often only interested in making a sale. Only you can look after your interests by gaining a basic skill that will help you make a better decision for yourself.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Telstra free Wi-Fi trial using public telephones.

Today in the city at the following location I saw a Telstra free Wi-Fi public telephone location and decided to give it a go.

Connecting worked well but that's when the good experience ended. I sat down tried using the Wi-Fi connection as I do the data on my mobile. The performance was terrible. In the end I gave up, turned the Wi-Fi off and then started using the mobile data again.

Sometimes I wonder why companies provide free Wi-Fi and then seem to provide such a terrible experience. It certainly hurts the image of the company. It would be better not to provide any service than a frustrating service.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Medicare contact number.

I get some weird requests as a result of my presence on the internet and the things I blog about. I was called once for a bag that was left on the bus because they found my post about one of the Smartbus routes.

This request was from someone I know. They needed to speak to Medicare because they'd not received the payment, yet the doctor's receptionist said the request had been submitted but the refund had not hit the bank account. No problems they thought. Just call Medicare. The number provided by the doctor's receptionist had not answer and a search of the internet didn't reveal the number. Actually they went to the Human Services site and if you've ever tried to find anything on a government site you'll know just how hard it is.

Using my snooping skills I had the number in a flash. Simple. Don't always use Google. I've found Google isn't particularly good for some things so I tend to use a range of approaches. In this case the White Pages gave me the answer faster than Google could.

The number for those interested is 132011.

Keep in mind Medicare is now part of Human Services. I suggest that when people call Human Services they call the number and then put the telephone on speaker. That way you can go about your business and when someone takes the call in Human Services you haven't wasted as much time just sitting there. Not to be unfair to government departments there have been a few times I've got through for various things over the years with a reasonable delay. However plan for a delay and if it is quicker than expected it can be a pleasant surprise.

By the way in this case the issue was the information provided by the doctor/admin was incorrect. The request to Medicare was that the bill hadn't been paid where in fact it had been. That mean completing an additional form for the person I know so as to rectify the error made by the doctor's practice.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.
Preferably not to look up telephone numbers;-)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Is open source a bit con with the free as in freedom and not free as in beer?

At one stage I was all for open source projects and put in a lot of time. However I now think they're just sucking in good people and using the energy of others. The big projects gain at the expense of good people.

As a person making a living in IT, IT has been good to me. But in the end you have to make a living. When you participate with software and code in open source you're giving away your time and thus your income. Anyone can take your work and call it theirs. You have nothing at the end and only the projects you contribute end up with your energy. This is the same was when you work for a company. When you leave you have nothing and the company ends up with the momentum you build from your efforts.

One opportunity that represents real freedom to me is public domain material. The beauty of public domain material is anyone can use the material in their work and then that work becomes your intellectual property. Free for you to do whatever you like with the end result. You can make your end material public domain in the same way you received the material as public domain. To me that is the essence of how most people view open source material. If you wish you can make your material open source. You can also make your material copyright. You have true freedom to do what you want with your work.

My older open source dictionary work is used by Firefox, Google Chrome and almost every open source project that uses an open source Australian spellcheck dictionary. Countless companies including the largest companies in Australia use my work.  Neither project (or any of the companies) gave anything back to assist me. They just took for their own benefit and I received nothing in return. These projects just use people.

Don't fall for the same romanticised ideal that I did. My involvement in open source has cost me dearly in terms of revenue and future direction that will be hard to recover from. Public domain however gives me hope. I hope that by sharing this insight it may help others in the IT industry that I love.

My first material based on public domain material will soon be released. It will be interesting to see the result which I hope to share with others.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The .Melbourne top level domain has now been released so I thought I 'd run a test for Computer Repairs Melbourne searches.

I registered the domain www.Computer-Repairs.Melbourne to promote the services of Online Connections. Whilst it may be difficult to get a good position in the organic search results in Google, I felt  this would be an interesting test.

By testing the presence of a .Melbourne domain clients will be better positioned to know whether or not it is worth retaining a .Melbourne domain. Relative to other domains a .Melbourne domain is quite expensive. Many businesses will feel they have now choice and purchase the .Melbourne domain as I did for one of my services. For Online Connections I don't feel it is necessary. For searches on computer repairs Melbourne I felt it was worth the cost of the test.

Only time will tell if the money has been well spent or not.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Internet Explorer 11 doesn't work on a number of sites making it frustrating to use.

Internet Explorer is my preferred browser because I find it easier to fix if there's a problem on client machines and I like the scripting capabilities. However, as with most things Microsoft, Microsoft seems to have lost the plot. It is not possible to use just Internet Explorer to get things done.

During my support role I've found a couple of sites where Internet Explorer 11 simply doesn't work. For my own use of Blogger I'm not able to upload an image to a blog post. It simply doesn't work and freezes Internet Explorer. Those using Centrelink's site to upload documents for a claim find you can't use that feature and a different browser is required.

There was a time when sites were crafted to work with Internet Explorer since it dominated the market. Now you just don't know what will or wont work. To get around this problem I have the Opera browser installed as a back-up browser.

Since Microsoft in their short-sighted wisdom (commercial self interest) decided to stop supporting Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8, for those using Windows XP I suggest using Google Chrome. Google has committed to support Windows XP for 12 months after the end-of-life. Well done Microsoft. You've simply handed 20-30% of the market to Google and lost considerable credibility that Microsoft even cares about its customer base. That's OK, but that means the customer now cares less about Microsoft and perhaps that isn't such a bad thing. Now the market can evolve to where it will be in the future. Unfortunately that does appear the movement is to Google which is simply replacing one large business with another with our usage data being mined for advertising and other purposes.

So if you're having trouble with your browser, install a second browser in case a site gives you problems. Opera isn't a popular browser, but I do find it to be lightweight and gets around the problems I have. This also means I don't hand my usage data over to Google. Somehow I think Google however is winning this game, with my logs showing Google Chrome to be the leading browser and Internet Explorer in the third or fourth position.

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

PS. My apologies. I originally wrote Internet Explorer 10 for this article. I was of course meaning the latest version Internet Explorer 11.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Will Google drop Mozilla and Firefox support now their agreement is up for renegotiation?

I noticed the article regarding Mozilla, which largely means Firefox and the current contract is up for renegotiation.

This negotiation is largely about whether or not Firefox is financially viable.

I first noticed the negotiations in 2008. Back then revenue made for Mozilla was around 80 million of which about 80% was from their deal with Google. Mozilla's own costs were around $20 million year so without income from Google Mozilla would be dead in the water. Google Chrome was just starting in the market and had no real presence. Firefox around 20-25% and Internet Explorer around 75-80% if I recall correctly. Without Firefox being in the market Google may have found it near impossible to get a foot in the door as Microsoft would have had close to a monopoly. Google is the default search engine and whilst you can select other search engines.

Fast forward to 2011 and the contract was up for  renegotiation. Firefox used Microsoft as leverage and all of sudden the figure for Google was up to $300 million. Google couldn't afford to lose that level of market share for their search engine to Microsoft and Bing. To me just as importantly with Google Chrome now reaching double digit penetration as a percentage of the market Microsoft's presence with Internet Explorer was weakening considerably. Google were actively promoting Firefox and Chrome as alternatives to Internet Explorer. In effect it was as though Google had two browsers on the market.

Now IT people love to promote the new and different and really most don't like Microsoft and simply tolerate them. So everyone who used to push the Firefox barrow was now pushing the shiny new Google Chrome barrel. Of course IT people don't really care Google is recording their every movement. It isn't Microsoft seemed to be all that mattered. Google Chrome was fast, lightweight, although a bit shaky, but that didn't matter.

Now we reach 2014 and the contact is again up for renegotiation. It is unlikely that Microsoft will fall for the old let's use Microsoft again to leverage Google trick, although you never really know. Google won't want to open a crack that could see Firefox lose market share unless of course it was all to them. In a way Google are now in the situation where Firefox is probably limiting their market share.

In six years Firefox has made almost no inroads into any other sector of the technology market. They have a mobile operating system but really, if their revenue outside of Google's support is taken away, and income from investments is removed, there's probably very little profit growth in the last six years. The Firefox browser has lost market share and is estimated to be around 15% of the market.

My guess is Google has made their bed and will need to continue to support Firefox for the next three years. Google in effect still has two browsers and if they lose Firefox their opportunity to dominate reduces. If Firefox wanes further it is possible that loss could also be Microsoft and Internet Explorer's gain. Any strengthening for Microsoft is not in Google's interests. Google is making money from Firefox, perhaps not as much as it could with the higher cost, but still that beats not making money.

I expect Google will again support Firefox and it will be hard for them not to keep the status quo.

Kelvin Eldridge

NOTE: Personally I do not recommend Firefox. I have seen it damage the linking in Outlook emails multiple times. I also find nearly all Firefox installs to be hijacked and it appears, because of the importance of the income from the search default, this may have made it more difficult to remove the malware. I find Internet Explorer and Google Chrome to be easier to repair. If I need a test back-up browser I'll often install Opera. Installing Opera reduces the situation where clients are exposed to Google's monitoring of everyone's activities.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Apple fixes iMessage error which stops ex iPhone users receiving SMS messages if they move to another platform.

A few years ago I'd to suggest to people to turn off their iMessage feature on iPhones. People were finding that if someone they knew went from an iPhone to another device, SMS messages would no longer not get through.

It is hard to imagine this has been an issue since 2011. Since I first recognised the issue I've always switched iMessage off to avoid the issue. Here is an article regarding the issue.

Now the issue has been fixed it may just be time to start using iMessage again, or at least retest it.

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

PS. Here is a link to the Apple tool to deregister your mobile number.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Microsoft Azure Australia Geo announced.

Microsoft have announced that Azure is now available so that data is stored in Australia. There appears to be two locations. One in NSW and one in Victoria which I suspect will enable them to have redundancy in Australia. This should handle one of the issues where data was previously stored overseas. It however doesn't resolve the issue where the USA government seems to consider they have access to data maintained by American companies no matter where they are located in the world, or at least that's how I've read the situation. It is however a major step forward.

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

A tip for those travelling in Australia wanting who may need extra data, and or better/alternate internet access.

I've used this technique a number of times with very good results both for myself, my family and clients.

On a regular basis Coles and other businesses offer mobile devices for less than it costs for the data alone.

The best special has been $10 for the combined Wi-Fi/USB device. I bought one for myself and then bought one for a client who moved into a new apartment but Telstra could not install internet because of the asbestos ban at the time. For $10 this gave the client temporary internet access.

My mobile plan used the Optus infrastructure (not using Optus). Optus is OK but quite often Telstra has better coverage in more remote locations. I don't go to remote locations that often, but I used this when I went to Monkey Mia in WA.

Also sometimes Telstra is better and sometimes Optus is better, so sometimes it is good to have a second network available just in case. In one instance in Townsville the free Wi-Fi provided in the hotel was worse than that provided by the dongle.

Sometimes you also use more data than expected. For example if I go over my plan (as I have right now) 1GB of data would cost me $100. This way I have extra data for just $15. This could occur when I've been giving more demonstrations than usual. Also have a second network available is a good back up strategy even in the city areas when demonstrating.

What I do is I buy one of these devices if I think I might new it in the next six months. I then toss it into the draw for when I need it. I consider $10-$15 a cheap back up plan. It is actually cheaper to buy the device and on special than it is to simply recharge. To me that's a waste because once used the device is no longer worth recharging if another special offer comes available.

So if you'd like 1GB of data in reserve with Telstra, keep an eye out for the specials. I just bought this unit from Coles as it it on special until tomorrow. Be warned they are very popular and can be hard to buy so it may be necessary to drop in to a couple of different Coles stores, or buy as soon as you can. Often it seems only a limited quantity is made available in each store.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 901 703 for IT support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'd suggest that people reconsider using online sites to generate more secure passwords.

I've seen a number of people recently suggesting to others to use an online site to generate a more secure password. I'd suggest that may not be the wisest idea.

First you usually have no idea who runs the site, what information they are storing, or what other sites they may be related to.

When you visit a site there's a lot of information that can be collected about your computer that could in many instances uniquely identify your computer and thus you, without even knowing who you are. With the password all that would be required is for you to somehow provide your username (which now is often an email address) and someone may have everything they need to hack your services.

When you visit a site, the ISP you're using provides you with an IP address (a unique number) which lets others know who your ISP is and often your location. Your browser then usually provides the operating system you're using, the type and version of the browser and since there are quite a few versions, this makes it easier to identify you. Next your browser may also provide things like screen resolution, number of colours and more, so there really is a lot of information that can be obtained from you without knowing it.

Think of your computer like the game of 20 questions, where by answering 20 questions the answer is often provided to you. Each bit of information you provide progressively helps to identify you and often, that can end up uniquely identifying you and you haven't even entered a single piece of information.

Now if the site had a sister site where you signed up for a newsletter or a great deal, then your email address or the second part of your security could also be obtained.

I'd seriously suggest that you don't use online sites to create more secure passwords. Generally you have no idea about the site so really is it worth the risk?

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

MyAnswers: What is the canonical statement and how to I implement it?

The following MyAnswers solution 2479 is now available:

I decided it was time to implement the canonical statement across my websites. In this solution I provide and example and explain why I felt it was important to implement the canonical statement in my web pages.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

MyAnswers: MYOB's Accountants Office upgrade (MYOB AO 2014.1) fails on installing on Windows XP. MYOB checks out the issue but then states they no longer support Windows XP.

The following MyAnswers solution 2477 is now available:

MYOB's Accountants Office upgrade (MYOB AO 2014.1) fails on installing and removes the ability for the user to use the program on Windows XP. MYOB investigates but then states they no longer support Windows XP.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Windows Server 2003/R2 End of Support July 14, 2015 notice received from Microsoft.

I just received a couple of notices from Microsoft indication the end of support for Windows Server 2003.

The irony, except for one client I've never felt the need to install Windows Server in my client based. I made the decision over a decade ago to run email hosted via a third party company so could use a lower cost more basic file server for clients. Dead easy, inexpensive, redundancy so quick recovery if required. My client base is typically under 20 users per site so the approach has worked well.

Microsoft finally caught up and is now pushing, albeit for larger organisations the same approach.

Now if only Microsoft stopped shafting customers still using their old products (300 million perfectly good Windows XP computers), stopped trying to copy Apple (having to control everything) and focus on their own market, they may remain relevant. This is frustrating seeing Microsoft becoming irrelevant to this section of the market. No doubt not an issue for them as they're the modern day IBM and we no longer buy IBM PCs. As a diehard Microsoft support, the iron is I'm typing this on a MacBook Air. I could never have imagined saying that a few years ago. Perhaps it is time to accept change and go with the flow.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for small business IT support.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Google Drive - We're sorry. You can't access this item because it si in violation of our Terms of Service message.

I was quite surprised to get this message and thought I'd share it with others.

I created a form to collect data from those who were interested. I used Google Drive to create the form and shared a link to the form on one of my blogs. The filename was called monopolypieces. I tested the form and then launched it into the public arena. Bang. There was one person who entered their pieces and then it was locked up. I couldn't edit the form. It just sits with a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in it.

It wasn't a major concern for me as this was a temporary measure. I quickly created my preferred approach which was a web app and was ready to go in a couple of hours. Those who don't have such skills may have a problem. I suspect the best way to handle this would be to create a new form this time without the term monopoly in the filename or in the form itself. That word was not really required as the context of usage would have been clear to people.

This does however show something I'd never anticipated. When you use Google Drive keep in mind that Google can lock your form unexpectedly. I don't know why they did it. I requested review and they released it, to later lock it again. I can only guess it was the use of the term Monopoly.

This was an interesting experience which I thought I'd share.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MyAnswers: Dell Inspiron 2350 touch screen stopped working. The computer is using Windows 8.1 update.

The following MyAnswers solution 2476 is now available:

Dell Inspiron 2350 touch screen stopped working. The computer is using Windows 8.1 update but had been working previously It also previous stopped working so there was a concern about the reliability of the Dell computer.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Friday, September 12, 2014

MyAnswers: The power consumption for the GV slow cooker.

The following MyAnswers solution 2475 is now available:

GVA slow cooker from the Goodguys, power consumption.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

MyAnswers: How to look up the business details of who owns a domain.

The following MyAnswers solution 2474 is now available:

How to look up who the business is that owns a domain.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: How using a photo of a property may reveal your location.

The following MyAnswers solution 2473 is now available:

Be careful of the photos you paste on the internet as they may provide more information than you expect. One person who works from home but doesn't publish their address online using a PO Box instead, published a picture of their front yard thus enabling people to easily confirm that location of their property.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MyAnswers: Huge number of files under the c:\Windows\System32\Config\systemprofile causing computer to perform poorly. Here's how to remove.

The following MyAnswers solution 2471 is now available:

Found a huge number of files in c:\Windows\System32\Config\systemprofile\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5 and the files were affecting the performance of the computer. Easy I thought. I'll simply delete them. Not so easy since just trying to view the files caused the computer to grind to a halt. Here's how I worked around the issue.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: Tested replacing a Google ad on my site with an affiliate ad.

The following MyAnswers solution 2470 is now available:

I decided to perform a test to consider replacing Google ads on one of my sites with affiliate advertising. I picked an ad I considered to be close to the market. I did however replace the ad in the middle of the page and not the top ad. I did this just in case the change may damage my excellent traffic in Google. Here is what I found.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Acer Australia's Paul Brighton using blog spamming to promote Acer.

I find this close to impossible to believe.  A company like Acer Australia has an employee (Paul Brighton) blog spamming to promote Acer Australia. Blog spamming for those who don't know, is when you go to another person's or business's blog with the intent of self promotion.

In this case, today I received a comment on my blog post about the Acer 8" Windows tablet. Personally at 32GB of memory I think this device doesn't have what I'd like in terms of memory, but that's beside the point. The blog post from Paul Brighton stated the following.

Thank you for this post, Acer Iconia W3 8 is an amazing tablet. Buyer must one time look this tab. I am sure that your choice is this tab because of their features.

The last line was a link which contained the following: <a href="" rel="nofollow" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">

As you can see the link has nothing to do with the post and is only there to promote the Chromebook.

How a company such as Acer Australia thinks it is OK to have an employee do this I don't know. It isn't the type of advertising strategy I'd expect from such a company and will certainly make me think twice about using or recommending their products. There are better ways to promote products rather than piggy back on the efforts of the small guy and use their resources. Not good enough Acer.

I did make an attempt to talk the the marketing manager and a number of managers above. Unfortunately no one was answering their telephones.

Kelvin Eldridge

MyAnswers: How does changing the order of words effect the results in terms of SEO.

The following MyAnswers solution 2469 is now available:
Tested changing the wording on my dictionary site from Australian Dictionary to Dictionary Australia from an SEO perspective to see the change in Google positioning. Here is the result.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

MyAnswers: How to remove the default holidays from your iPhone calendar.

The following MyAnswers solution 2468 is now available:

How do I remove default holidays from my calendar on the iPhone. These holidays just started appearing and it makes it harder to determine if I have appointments on a day or not.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hepburn Springs Accommodation search engine optimisation

If you perform a search for Hepburn Springs Accommodation you'll notice something very interesting, or at least I thought it was interesting. Then if you add this observation to the comments made by an ex team member of the search engine optimisation team you start to perhaps notice things you may not have been aware of.

If you perform the search notice the third ad which appears in the search results. They're not in the usual form.

If you click on this ad you'll be shown a calendar. WOW. That's unexpected. It appears that Google then provides a list of properties you can book and the sites you can book and the links are for ads. This potentially increases Google's income from ad clicks.

The article I mentioned talks about commercial and non-commercial words. From this we get a feeling that accommodation is a commerical word for Google so you should be careful of overusing this word when performing SEO.

I'd not thought about the use of commercial versus non-commercial words before and thought this may be of interest to others.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The frequency range for Wireless Microphones is changing from the 1st of January 2015

From the link below it appears if you're using wireless microphone range that uses the 694-802 MHz frequency range this will no longer be allowed and you'll need to take action. It appears this range is now to be used by 4G mobile devices.

The ACMA's wireless microphones hub is your one-stop shop for understanding the changes to the supply and use of wireless microphones. Changes to the use of wireless microphones will take effect from 1 January 2015.  Changes to the supply of wireless microphones in Australia are already in more.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Monday, June 23, 2014

MyAnswers: How to add an image/graphic to a signature in Gmail.

The following MyAnswers solution 2466 is now available:

How do I add an image/graphic to my signature in Gmail?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

MyAnswers: Outlook 2013 keeps crashing after upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.

The following MyAnswers solution 2465 is now available:

Outlook 2013 keeps crashing after upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. On further investigation opening Microsoft Word showed Word also aborted shortly after starting.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

MyAnswers: The percentage of the number of orders on Shopfiy from social media.

The following MyAnswers solution 2464 is now available:

What is the percentage of the number of orders on Shopify from social media for 2013? I think the result will surprise you.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MyAnswers: A technique to send an SMS so it appears with your business name.

The following MyAnswers solution 2463 is now available:

When you send and SMS to another person using your mobile it shows as coming from a number. A person recently asked is it possible to show as a business name instead? The quick answer is no, but I found an approach I could use if I decided to send SMS notification and wanted the notification to show using a business name. This may not work for everyone.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Is iOS 8 compatible with the Apple iPhone 4?

The first question I asked with each release of iOS is whether an iPhone will no longer be supported. For iOS 7 the Apple iPhone 3GS was no longer supported. With iOS 8 it would appear the Apple iPhone 4 is no longer supported and only the iPhone 4S and later will be supported.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The history of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

The preferred Australian English spelling dictionary is an Australian Dictionary containing only the preferred Australian spelling.

The first dictionary I built was based on an open source list of words from the UK. The problem for me was the word list contained a huge amount of, how shall I say it, rubbish. I culled about a third of the word list using Microsoft's spellchecker. But therein lies another problem. The word list could contain errors that Microsoft's spellchecker dictionary contained. Better off, but I felt it could still be better. In addition I found the early work being open source, everyone used my work of hundreds of hours and no one gave anything back. Firefox, Google Chrome and many other projects just took my work without contributing in any way.

So I decided to start again. To create the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary shouldn't be too hard I thought. How wrong I was. However it is a passion of mine and I see it helps many people, so I continue to build the dictionary. At least I know the work will be of a high standard and for me that is important.

I now have files which provide the preferred Australian English spelling for Microsoft Office on Windows and Mac. I also have files for Internet Explorer 10/11 users so those users have access to the preferred Australian English spelling. These products are very stable. My latest product is a full system dictionary for Apple Mac OS X users. Very much a work in progress, but very usable even at this stage. The Mac version is the version I use most of the time.

For those wanting to just check a single word I also have an online tool called Word Check. Word Check has been designed so it works well on a desktop or mobile device. You can even treat Word Check as a web app and add it to your Home screen on an iPhone or Android device. Word Check is password protected so those who help support my work are those that benefit from what I do.

If using the preferred Australian spelling in your writing is important, please feel free to check out my work.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, May 22, 2014

eBay password needs to be changed after unauthorised access.

I received a tip that eBay's service had been compromised and users of eBay should change their passwords.

You can find more information here on the eBay site.

It is a good idea not to click on links in emails that you think are from eBay. Smart hackers will be sending out emails to eBay users so best to go to the site and perform the change.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How does an IT consultant end up also running an advertising service?

As an IT consultant I enjoy helping others with their technology. The problem however is I'm limited by time as to the number of people I can assist. By creating an advertising service I use the technology I know to help others and I can share my knowledge to a much greater number of people at a much lower cost.

The best part is I get to meet some excellent businesses. Businesses like 10th Entrepreneur and Quinta Real Estate and I can see the difference I make to their business with just minor suggestions. The cost of time is one of the biggest killers for business so if I can make my time available more cost effectively then that helps clients and for me that's a great outcome.

So if you have a business on the internet and want to promote your business locally then check out JustLocal.

It should be noted that I have a policy of full disclosure. As an IT consultant I feel I have a moral obligation to make sure clients have the best information on which to make a decisions. JustLocal is my service I've developed. It is not a consulting service but an advertising service. As an advertising service a set fee is charged for advertising. It is always tricky to be a consultant providing independent advice, but it is possible is full disclosure is a core principle.

Kelvin Eldridge
Owner of the JustLocal advertising service.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Aldi HD camera pen not working.

When I was repairing a client's computer they asked me to check out their HD camera pen. After checking the pen I advised the client the pen did not appear to be able to be recharged and would not work. I advised the best course of action was to return it to where they purchased the unit. They said they purchased it at Aldi.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MyAnswers: Can I use the cheaper Officeworks $98 subscription for Office 365 instead of paying the $119 charged by Microsoft.

The following MyAnswers solution 2460 is now available:

My Office365 subscription is about to end and it costs $119 to renew. Officeworks is selling subscriptions for $98. Can I use the Officeworks subscription to extend my subscription? Also does it add 12 months to the current date or from the date I activate the new subscription?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, April 21, 2014

How to extract information from a text string into columns in Excel.

In this example the person had rows of information similar to the following in an Excel spreadsheet and wanted to sort the rows in distance order and then select those rows/locations between five and ten kilometres.

Albion Heights (7050) 8.2 km
Battery Point (7004) 1.1 km
Bellerive (7018) 3.2 km
Bonnet Hill (7053) 9.9 km

Each row of text was in a single cell. To sort the rows by distance we need to extract the distance into a separate column. Then we can sort by the distance column and either delete the rows before and after the desired distance, or copy the wanted cells to another sheet.

When I look at data like this I look for patterns I can use. What is unique I can use. I then use the text functions provided by Excel to extract the text I want.

For example, if we wanted only the suburb, notice that after the suburb is a space followed by the left bracket. That means we want the characters before the space and the left bracket. For this we can use  the LEFT() function which allows us to extract the left characters of the text. In this case however the left bracket can appear in a variable location. Excel provides the FIND() function which allows us to find the position of the left bracket no matter where it is located. We can thus use the FIND() function to tell us where the left bracket is located and the end of the suburb is then two characters before.

Let's say the first cell is A1. In the column B1 we can then write the following formula.


Let's look at this formula more closely. We use LEFT() to find the left most characters of the text. The A1 is the cell where we find the text. After the comma we have the FIND() function. In the FIND() function we say we want to find the left bracket (we place the bracket in quotes), we then tell the FIND() function to use the text in cell A1, and the value 1 says to look from the start of the text until the left bracket is found. We then have the position of the left bracket. Now finally, since we don't want the space and the left bracket, we subtract 2 so the LEFT() function only returns the text from the start of A1 to the character before the space and the left bracket.

OK. That was the easy one. We really want the distance. Notice the pattern. There is a right bracket followed by a space before the number. After the number is a space followed by km.

I'll first present the solution and then go through the solution and show how it works.  But first I'll mention something that is very important. You can't assume anything about your data. You need to test your data to make sure there are no exceptions that could cause a problem. If there is an issue you have to decide either to change your solution, or sometimes, fudge your data temporarily so your solution works and then change your data back later. Why have I said this you may ask. There is an issue when writing the formula in this case. First we want to locate the right bracket. We need to check our data for right brackets that might occur elsewhere. If this data is for all postcodes across Australia there are two entries which include two sets of right brackets. They are for Cocos (Keeling) Islands. For these two locations the rows of data will contain two right brackets. There are only two such entries so changing the brackets around Keeling temporarily to say X would remove this issue and the approach will work.

So before using this solution, first change the brackets in Cocos (Keeling) to read Cocos XKeelingX. Then you can use this formula and the distance will be shown. Again we assume the first row of data starts in cell A1.

Here now is one solution.


In this solution I introduce four more text functions. The LEN() function which allows us to determine the length of the text. The RIGHT() function which allows us to take a number of characters from the right of the text, the SUBSTITUTE() function which I use to remove the characters km from the text, and the TRIM() function which removes spaces to the left and right of the text. The easiest way to understand this formula is to work from the inside out.

First we want to take the right hand characters of the string starting after the right bracket. We use RIGHT(A1,LEN(A1)-FIND(")",A1,1)). We use the text in cell A1. We determine the number of characters by subtracting the position of the right bracket from the length of the text.

Now that we have the right hand characters from the end of the text we have the distance followed by a space and the letters km. A way to get rid of the characters km is to use the SUBSTITUTE() function and replace km with text of zero length.

Finally we use the trim value to remove and spaces from the start and end of the text. That leaves us with just the number and that is what we were after.

To use the solution.

To use this solution, if your data is in column A and starts in cell A1, then copy the solution to B1. You need to do this first. Then copy the contents in B1 to all of the B column cells required. If you have your data in different cells you need to change A1 to match the first cell for your data.

Now to sort your data.

Finally we are now ready to sort the data. Select all your data, select custom sort and sort by the column containing the above formula. You can either copy the range of locations to a new sheet or you can delete the rows you don't want. Make sure you are however working on a copy of your data.

For completeness however, in case you'd like the postcode as well in a separate column, then use the following formula.


The MID() function enables you to extract the text from the middle of the string. To the left of the postcode is a bracket and and the length of a postcode is always four characters. That means you extract four characters starting at the character after the left bracket.

Hopefully you can now see the text functions is Excel are available for your use. Yes they can be tricky but they are also very powerful.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Who really is in control of your accounting data?

As an IT consultant I find my approach to assisting clients is vastly different from many other industries. When I set a client up with a domain or hosting, I work with the client and set everything up under their name or their business name. I don't control anything and the client is not tied back to me in any way. The client is free to use my services or use the services of anyone else they wish to.

I read this article ( recently which is how a business found they did not have control over their own Xero account, but it was the reseller who had all the rights. This business thought they were in control and even paid the subscription direct to Xero. The only way they could get control back over their own data was to pay a fee. You can see the business blamed themselves for not reading the agreement but I've found suppliers know exactly what they're providing, what they have control over, and know this gives them leverage over their clients. It is their business model and is a very common approach used to retain customers.

An example of one issue I came across whilst helping a client with their domain that had been registered through WebCentral, was the client did not have access and control over to their domain. The previous supplier who set up the domain was a reseller for WebCentral. WebCentral could do nothing to assist the client and their real client was the reseller and not the business the domain was registered for. The only way around this problem was to transfer the domain away from WebCentral. In another case (not with WebCentral) the contact details wasn't the client's but the web developer that registered the domain for the client. It took about seven hours to recover control over the domain.

If you're setting up a domain, hosting, or using a cloud based service, don't fall for the trap of signing up through a reseller. Sign up direct. The relationship you have with a supplier today may be great but you don't know what it will be like in the future. Where possible you should retain control over the services your business requires, or otherwise you may find down the track you've set yourself up for a considerable cost and inconvenience.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MyAnswers: Installing the free version of AVG on Windows XP.

The following MyAnswers solution 2459 is now available:

Installing the free version of AVG on Windows XP including tips on what to click on and what not to click on when installing.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Microsoft Security Essentials Requires your attention - End-of-support guidance for operating systems.

Tonight I brought a Windows XP system up-to-date and noticed Microsoft Security Essentials kept nagging with the screen stating 'Microsoft Security Essentials Requires your attention'. In addition I found with Windows update turned on, plus the latest updates, the computer was completely unstable. It should be noted this was using Windows XP loaded in a virtual machine.

Even though Microsoft states if Microsoft Security Essentials is installed and it will continue to be updated, to the user the red icon in the System Tray is a constant nag and does not endear confidence that Microsoft Security Essentials is working. This appears to be a deliberate ploy by Microsoft to push people off Windows XP and onto their more recent operating system.

Yes Microsoft are quite clear that they have stopped upgrading Windows XP, and yes, it is probably sensible to move to a newer computer and newer operating system. But not everyone is ready to move and the constant nag does not help.

Now is a good time to get rid of Microsoft products off Windows XP and use products from other companies that are support. Google have stated they'll support Google Chrome on Windows XP for the next 12 months. The free version of AVG or Avast I suspect will continue to be supported for some time. I turned of Windows update, removed Microsoft Security Essentials and installed the free version of AVG and Windows XP was again stable and started up without the instability that Microsoft seems to have introduced. Problems they should have removed.

For those who don't like getting tricked with unwanted add-ins, I'll write up a MyAnswers solution with the steps I took to install AVG. You can find the solution in the virus section of MyAnswers which can be found at

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

UPDATE: The MyAnswers solution 2459 for installing AVG and avoiding clicking on the wrong installation options is now available. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Alert: Heartbleed bug hit the press on Monday and involves an exposure with OpenSSL.

I was in an Amazon seminar yesterday where the Chief Technical Officer let the audience know they are keeping customers informed and had or were patching their systems. I decided to investigate.

The site has been set up by the researchers who discovered the bug so it is good reference as opposed to the general media. The general media however will be better in terms of listing services people are using. For example the site has a good list of services affected.

One of my concerns is that people may not be aware of devices they use that may or may not be exposed. For example I have an ADSL router as do most households and I've noticed that companies such as Netcomm and DLink use open source in their routers.  My ADSL modem/router has been in the home for some time. I wondered when the issue started.

For the site we can see the bug was introduced in December 2011 and released in March 2012.

'Bug was introduced to OpenSSL in December 2011 and has been out in the wild since OpenSSL release 1.0.1 on 14th of March 2012. OpenSSL 1.0.1g released on 7th of April 2014 fixes the bug.'

The site has a good list of services which may have been compromised. Keep in mind if hackers have been recording data then past data could be used.

The lesson here is you should be using different passwords for different services. That means that if one site has an exposure all of the services you use are not exposed. Changing your password is a good idea, but keep in mind if you're using a single password across sites and one of the sites is still compromised, then your credentials could still be compromised.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Windows XP support ends April 8th 2014. Are you ready?

On April the 8th Microsoft releases the last update for Windows XP. For an estimated 200 million users they will now be cast loose under their own sail. Are you one of them? Do you know one of them?

With one in five Windows users still using Windows XP, you or someone you know is still using Windows XP. If you are using Windows XP this post is for you. If someone you know is using Windows XP, then this post will help you help them.

Are you ready of the end of Windows XP support? Do you know what you need to know?
  1. Make sure you have Windows XP updated. Make sure all updates are applied before the 8th of April 2014 and then apply the last update on the 8th of April. Don't wait.

    My biggest concern is I don't know what Microsoft will still make available online and what they will withdraw.
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials is a very good antivirus program and is available from Microsoft for free. After the 8th of April Microsoft will remove the ability to install Microsoft Security Essentials. However Microsoft have committed to providing upgrades to Microsoft Security Essentials for another year if it is already installed.

    For many clients I've removed their existing antivirus program and installed Microsoft Security Essentials. My testing showed Microsoft Security Essentials was as good, if not better than the leading free antivirus programs and as good as the paid programs I've installed on users' computers over the years. It is lightweight in terms of the performance hit a computer takes so it is good for older slower computers.

    Microsoft Security Essentials is available from

    The approach I use is to first make sure you can access the Microsoft site. Then if you can access the Microsoft site remove the existing antivirus program. Then install Microsoft Security Essentials. Make sure the latest updates are applied and run a full scan of your computer. Complete this before the 8th of April.
  3. Install Google Chrome to provide better online protection. Google have committed to providing updates to Google Chrome under Windows XP for an additional 12 months. This should provide better security whilst surfing the internet. Microsoft have long since stopped upgrading Windows XP computers to a later version than Internet Explorer 8 and since they're not looking after their users, it is best to go to a company that is.
  4. If you're still using Outlook Express for email perhaps it is time to consider moving to a web based email service such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook Express has looked after users well even though it has not been updated since 2006.
  5. Make sure now more than ever you are backing up your important data. Check out and set up a backup script for your important data. Make sure your data is safe.
  6. Implement an image backup if you can. This will enable you to reinstall an image of your system should your system fail such as a hard disk failure, a catastrophic malware infection, or system corruption from which you can't recover. If may also assist in the situation that it would not otherwise be economic to recover. Recovering a system image will enable you to restore your system to the time the last system image was created.

    At this stage I don't have a system image program I can recommend. I will however perform some research in the future to determine if there is a suitable low cost or free program people can use. Check this post in future for any updates.
  7. If you need to use your Windows XP computer for important work consider reducing your exposure to the internet. Reduce your use by using your mobile phone, tablet or another device for general browsing the internet and even email if you can. Another option is to consider using a secure boot disk (a CD) using software provided by the American Armed Forces which allows you to browse the internet in a safe environment and ensures your computer does not get infected. If people are interested in this option I'll provide further information.
At this stage I don't know all the implications of Microsoft Windows XP reaching end-of-life and only time will tell where we'll find issues. As I find issues I'll either add them here or to the MyAnswers solutions found at

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

MyAnswers: Removing a hard disk from a dead ASUS Eee PC so the user had access to their data on the hard disk.

The following MyAnswers solution 2458 is now available:

Removing the hard disk from an ASUS Eee PC netbook can be a bit tricky if you've not done it before. In this solution I share how I was guided through removing the disk. The hard disk was removed so the client could access their data from their dead netbook.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

MyAnswers: A new approach I used to remove the NewNextDotMe malware.

The following MyAnswers solution 2457 is now available:

I developed a new strategy to remove the NewNextDotMe malware. The problem is new malware comes out every day as a slight variation of existing malware to bypass most of the antivirus programs. This approach enabled me to find the program to remove the malware using standard free software so it may be possible for end users to remove their own malware using the same approach.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blogger error bx-hg9hg2 whien using Internet Explorer 11 under Windows 7.

I found recently that using Internet Explorer 11 under Windows 7 to write posts in Google Blogger had become quite frustrating. I received the error message bx-hg9hg2. Checking the internet I see this is very common.

If you read the browser support documentation for Google Blogger you'll see Internet Explorer 9 and 10 are supported but Internet Explorer 11 is not. Google has stated they'll only support two versions of browsers and were very quick to drop support of Internet Explorer 8 even though it is the latest version of Internet Explorer support on Windows XP.

Google can of course to choose to support whichever platforms they decide to choose. If Google didn't have their own browser I'd be fairly sure all versions of Internet Explorer from 8 to 11 would be supported. By not supporting Internet Explorer this is the stick approach to get people to use Google Chrome. Firefox is often suggested but keep in mind nearly all the income Firefox makes is from Google and changing the Firefox default search is often not easy for casual users.

In MyAnswers solution 2455 I'm documenting tips to work around this problem. This post was written using Internet Explorer 11 under Windows 7. The image however was loaded using the Opera Browser. I've not found problems when using the Safari browser on a MacBook Air.

I use Google's services but this apparent behaviour is a real concern to me. Why haven't Google got around to supporting Internet Explorer 11 fully for Blogger. It makes me worry as to whether or not Blogger will continue into the future. If a company only focuses on its own products and not what the customer is using, then it is time to factor that into your future decisions.

I'm happy to use the browser of my choice, but I'm not happy being forced to use a browser as part of what I perceive as a strategic business decision.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Should I get an Apple tablet, an Android tablet, or some other tablet? This is just for fun.

Recently a question came up which comes up often and I felt it was time I share my experience others. The question usually goes along the lines, I'd like a tablet for myself, I'd like to get my partner a tablet, or my partner would like to get me a tablet. The tablet will be for fun and there is no specific requirement from a business point of view. Which tablet would you suggest?

The quick answer is either. If you got a gift without knowing I'm fairly sure you would simply enjoy the gift and enjoy whichever brand you ended up with. Life is short so just enjoy the technology for the pleasure it brings.

Since the question was more about spoiling yourself, or purchasing for a partner, or the partner purchasing for you, then the easy option is to stick to the two main brands which are Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy.

As long as you separate pleasure from business it doesn't matter. Each device will be fun. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

If it were a business decision I'd first suggest working out your requirements. I'd suggest creating a list of pros and cons for each device and put a weighting of how important each feature was to the client. I'd also in particular rate the physical features of the devices so that people could clearly keep in mind the subtle differences. But this isn't usually a business decision, but a fun decision. The only question is, is it this easy to separate business from pleasure? Will the additional device somehow creep into business use later and thus a little more thought may have ended up with a more useful business device as well as giving pleasure. I suspect usage creep more than likely will happen.

My own experience with tablets is the following.

I wanted to use a tablet for presenting my JustLocal service to potential clients and for training clients with online services such as blogger. I purchased an iPad 2 and the WOW factor was there. Fantastic device. Absolutely terrible camera at sub one megapixel which Apple really didn't make obvious, but sharing pictures at high resolution and on a large screen with family and friends was worth the experience alone.

However an Apple iPad doesn't give you the full experience of the internet. I suspect the terse words on Flash by Apple was more about Apple keeping a development tool off Apple devices which would allow apps to be developed without having to go through Apple's store, where Apple gets a 30% commission.  That's just my suspicion. So the iPad didn't do Flash and so quite a few sites didn't work. I then found whilst training people that Apple's browser didn't work with Google blogger and didn't work with other sites. So I was stuck. I could show people the output but not how to enter the information. When it came to training I'd have to use an old Acer netbook as well as the iPad. I was stuck using and carrying around two devices to do the one job. I reluctantly took the iPad back to Apple as I found it wasn't suited to my business needs and to Apple's credit they provided a full refund. No hassles, even though I was outside the return period. To me that was impressive.

I next bought an Acer A200 tablet which ran Android 4.0 and included a free upgrade when available to 4.1. The Acer A200 uses Google's operating system. Now I'll have no problems I thought. How wrong was I. Google's own services such as Blogger and Gmail gave a terrible unworkable experience. I found the hardware to be good but Android severely lacking. The Acer is rarely used now but it has had a second chance at life for one member of the family playing Candy Crush. It is also good for sharing the occasional photo. Not a good purchase decision.

Apart from a very poor experience with an Android device a major concern is with operating system updates. I had an iPhone 3GS and the operating system was updated multiple times until recently where it now sits with iOS 6. In general Apple has shown an easy upgrade path, but they did obsolete some tablets faster than expected. With Android I now assume you can't upgrade an Android device. You buy what you get and if it gets an operating system update that's a bonus. The problem is it is up to the manufacturer of the device to provide the update to Android and the two devices we have which are Android, will never be updated again. Within a year of purchase there's been no updates.

From a user point of view I find Apple devices easier to use and Android a bit clumsy in their design and more difficult to find options. However I feel Android may provide more options. Android is winning in market share, but isn't winning yet in actual usage as an internet device. My stats show even though Apple devices (tablets and mobiles) may now have lower market share, far more people use Apple devices to access the internet. In terms of security I'd be far happier doing my banking on an Apple device where people only download a few apps than using an Android device. That's more about Apple's controlling nature which normally annoys me, but in the case of banking provides confidence. I've never used an Android device for banking but have no problems using my iPhone for banking.

As a result of my experience if someone asked which device I'd recommend, with no background of their needs, I'd suggest an Apple device over an Android device. But I'd also suggest that people seriously consider their needs first. What suits one person's needs is different from another's.

In summary, if you just want a device for fun then it doesn't matter which device you choose. They're both fun. But take a moment to think about the future as well. Will you use your device for business as well as pleasure? Then if it is really to have fun, just have fun. Life is short and you deserve to spoil yourself every now and then.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 901 703 for IT support.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

MyAnswers: 64 bit version of Microsoft Windows 8.1 full version DVD not able to be read by Acer Aspire 5253G.

The following MyAnswers solution 2454 is now available:

When installing Microsoft Windows 8.1 full version I could read the 32 bit DVD in the Acer Aspire 5253G, but not the 64 bit. This is how I solved the problem

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)