Monday, December 21, 2015

Microsoft Office installer encountered a problem when installing Microsoft Access 2016 runtime.

A client buys a new computer. They purchase Microsoft Office Home and Business with the computer. You then upgrade their Microsoft Access 2010 system to Microsoft Access 2016 and when installing Microsoft Access 2016 runtime, you find it isn't compatible with Microsoft Office 2016.

Who builds software like that!!!!

OK. The answer is obvious. Microsoft. As a developer the amount of time wasted due to Microsoft's woeful decisions is huge.

After some testing I found a solution that may work for the client that gets around the problem for them. I'll make my notes available in the MyAnswers section of my site for clients. This doesn't solve the problem. Only Microsoft can do that by releasing Microsoft Access 2016 runtime with a Click To Run installer.

Until Microsoft solves this problem I'd highly suggest that you consider sticking with the version of Microsoft you currently have and I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a solution.

I'm still shaking my head. Why would a company like Microsoft even consider releasing software they know can't be installed at the same time on the one computer?

The joys of software development. Makes life interesting and challenging.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Google announces support for the Chrome browser on Windows XP will end April 2016.

Google have announced the Chrome browser will reach end-of-life in April 2016. The browser will still work, but it will not receive updates and security patches.

For Windows XP users who decided to switch to Google Chrome since it was still supported, it is now time to start planning ahead.

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

Monday, October 26, 2015

New kilojoules to Calories web app now online.

I notice when I typed convert kilojoules to Calories into Google, I was presented with the following calculator.

I spoke to another person who had done the same search and they said they didn't understand Google's calculator.

The problem is Google isn't presenting the information in a way the user will generally expect. There is no option in the calculator for Calories, which is what the person is looking for. Secondly most people don't realise that calorie and Calorie with the first letter capitalised are different. There are one thousand calories to 1 Calorie. Without this knowledge people will generally not know what this calculator means.

I decided to write a very simple Convert kilojoules to Calories calculator which wouldn't confuse others. The web app is available at

I hope others find this web app and the other dieting related web apps I've created useful.

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

TPG moving to use Vodafone's mobile network.

It was interesting to read today that TPG is moving from using the Optus mobile network to the Vodafone network. Quite a few in our family use the older TPG 3G plans which have been quite cost effective.

Looking at the current TPG page for mobile plans there's only 4G plans. With a bit of reading it appears effective immediately, all new plans will be using Vodafone's network.

In the past I used Vodafone but found their coverage lacking and never achieved broadband speed with data. That was pre 4G. Looking at the maps it looks like things may have changed, but only usage and testing will determine whether the situation has improved. Given a choice I wouldn't consider Vodafone's network. The old once bitten (actually multiple times) it makes you hesitate.

Going forward it's not quite possible to see what will happen with the 3G plans. I've read people will be contacted with an offer to move, or they can contact Optus if they wish to stay with Optus. This was found in media reports so I'm not sure I'd put much weight on the information.

It does seem however that SIM cards only work with the one network, so TPG users will need new SIM cards to use the Vodafone network. At least that means people will know what's going on if they need to get a new SIM card.

All we can really do is wait and see what happens. What will happen to the grandfathered plans we're currently on is anyone's guess. For new services it really is a matter of reviewing the market to best determine which service in theory suits your needs, and then testing to ensure coverage (including data speed) is to your satisfaction for the areas important to you.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham region

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Power bank purchased in Shanghai China is a good example of why you should take care purchasing overseas.

Recently I visited China for a short holiday. For me it was one of those must do that was on my "bucket list". I wanted to share this purchase I made in Shanghai. We purchased quite a few good value items, but when it comes to technology, you really can't check out what's inside.

I had already checked in Australia and found a 10,900mAh power bank for $35 that I thought was the price to match. I found one shop in the main tourist street Nanjing Road which had a unit for around $35 but it was physically bigger. The unit in Australia was more compact. In another shop I found the following. I didn't consider this shop to be a market, but in hindsight perhaps I should have. I had avoided buying at markets.

I felt comfortable with this retailer. Lots of counters and very reasonable prices. Their selfie sticks were around $6 which sell for around $15 in Australia. I checked their power banks and liked the anodised unit shown above. Naturally the Apple symbol meant it was a fake. I've not known Apple to sell a power bank. I checked the power and it was rated at 13,800mAh. The price was 150 Yuan or roughly $33 Australian. I thought about 100 Yuan but then felt this was a risky purchase, so I offered 80 Yuan or $17-$18 Australian dollars. I was happy with the purchase.

My first clue that what I'd purchased wasn't quite what stated was when charging the iPhone (a 1,420mAh battery) the power bank showed it was half full. I decided to test further and managed to charge a flat iPhone 4 again to around 36%. That means this power bank could only deliver around 1,900mAh. I did some further testing and suspect the unit is somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000mAh.

Now of course I've been stooged and that's the lesson I'm sharing. If when buying technology in China you can't tell what's inside, then keep in mind you may not be getting what you think you're getting. However even this isn't a bad outcome. Compared to prices in Australia, it probably is on par, just not the bargain I thought.

The good thing about purchasing in Australia is you can shop around and what you buy from the retailers, most of the time is what you think you're buying. Some people love haggling, but I'm not one of them. There were really some excellent buys in China, but generally I found if you shop around using the internet, often you can get close to the same prices in Australia.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What devices will Apple iOS 9 support?

It's fairly handy to know when the new version of iOS is released by Apple, the devices that will still be supported. The following is from a slide shown at the recent Apple WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) held on June 15, 2015.

Apple if I recall correctly, stated all devices support under iOS 8 will continue to be supported under iOS 9.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Perhaps it's time to turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth since so many groups are now tracking us.

I found an article from sometime ago as I wanted to read the article when I had time. When you go out with your mobile phone your mobile is attempting to connect to other devices if you leave Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled.

Now here's where you should keep in mind, when your device is trying to connect to other devices that means the other devices are trying to connect your device. Your device has a unique number which means whilst you aren't personally identifiable by name, your device you're carry is uniquely identifiable. Use your credit card which has your name and later that information can be collated. Remember those questions as to what is your postcode. I read that was to allow the names to be matched to locations. Who would have guessed.

In theory a person with access to the right technology can record the movements of people. When they leave home, when they return. The more others know about you the more you increase your own risk. How that information is used we don't generally know.

At it's simplest we're probably now paying more for products and services than we need to, based on the information we provide others. Here's a post I wrote a while ago showing how some people are being offered less than others through the Flybuys discount offers. Those spending more are getting an offer that percentage wise isn't as good as those spending less. Online I've seen super specials in ads that are tracking me that aren't as good as I can get offline. In one case for travel insurance up to 50% more. In another example an overseas government used the information collected by people's own GPS devices to determine where they sped and thus increased the number of people they could book. Their own information ended up being used against them.

I don't know how or if this information being collected is disadvantaging us in some way. I'm sure in time we'll find out. For now though perhaps it's a good idea to turn off features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth whilst you're out and about, and don't need to use them. On an Apple iPhone swipe up from the bottom and you can quickly turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There will be a similar technique for Android devices.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Google Chrome to provide updates for Windows XP computers through to the end of 2105.

Google stated in 2014 they'd continue to support Google Chrome on Windows XP even though Microsoft had stopped supporting Windows XP users. That's a very good strategic move on the part of Google, and very handy for Windows XP users who don't feel they need to, or want to move at that point in time.

That commitment was for a year if I recall correctly. Google in the following post has made the commitment to continue to support Google Chrome on Windows XP through to the end of the year.

Again this makes sense. In 2014 there were around 300 million users. That's more users than Firefox had at that point, and for Google to be the default search in Firefox cost Google hundreds of millions of dollars of money actually paid out. To support Windows XP and become the preferred browser cost them nothing except their development time. In addition people get used to Google Chrome and the support they receive from Google when Microsoft effectively dumped them. That's generated loyalty that will be hard for Microsoft to overcome. I'm not fan of Google, but even I recommend Windows XP users switch to Google Chrome.

I estimate there's still around 180 million Windows XP users. However at some point Google will no longer see merit in supporting Windows XP. I don't know when that will be, but Google is about numbers and advertising. At a guess we probably can expect Google to stop supporting Windows XP when the numbers drop below 100 million, which will probably be within the next year.

For the moment however, those using Windows XP can feel comfort knowing they'll be supported if they use Google Chrome.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Fanboy get tickets using Apple watch in the USA. Could it happen here?

This article is a reminder to make sure you understand the road rules in Australia. Whilst a lot of people will say it is ridiculous to fine someone for using the Apple watch, it's important to read and understand the road rules. I'm not a legal person, but given the wording in Victoria includes the words "visual displays", it could be very easy to be booked.

Here's a link to the VicRoads page which I feel is relevant.

To me the important paragraph is the following.

All drivers face tough penalties for illegal use of a mobile phone or interacting with other units that have visual displays while driving (e.g. DVD players or tablet computers) that are not driver's aids.

An Apple watch is a visual display device. You may not like it, but if you get caught using a visual display device you may find it tough to contest.

Do take care on the roads. Whether we think laws are right or wrong that doesn't help you if you get fined. If you hurt yourself or others whilst driving, that doesn't help anyone.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Google maps location history shows where you've been.

OK. Now I'm not exactly a person that appreciates being tracked. I know tracking is occurring all the time, but most of us are unaware of just how much we're being tracked. I'm sure as I type this post, where I am is being recorded. That's part of the information that is simply known when you use the internet, but whether it is recorded or not, only those recording the information will often be aware and as users we're generally not.

I just read an article which said you can now check your Google maps tracking history. I have my tracking history turned off, (happy to see that) so I couldn't see anything. If you'd like to check out this feature of Google maps visit

For those who prefer not to be tracked, there's a couple of things you can do to minimise the information you provide.

First turn off location services in your devices. Only enable the services when you need them. I'd also suggest that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be used to track you.

Log out of online services when you're not using them. Yes it's really convenient to always be logged into Google and Facebook type services, but being logged on means you're activity is being logged. As you move from office to home, where you are and when you're there can be logged.

Whilst I'm not sure it makes any real difference, I tend to split my use over multiple services. For example sometimes I'll use Apple maps and at other times I'll use Google maps. Yes, it's a bit silly, but it gives me a small feeling of comfort not all my data is going to one single major supplier.

Keep in mind I'm not a hacker or security boffin. Think of me as an experienced computer person. Those who specialise in these areas will know far more than I'll ever know. However it doesn't take much effort to be curious and find out more than most people know. For example here is an article on the information that can be seen on an unsecured public hotspot.

If you recall, Google got into trouble for recording data when it scanned the Wi-Fi access points whilst mapping roads. Google knows my IP address because it's the same each time I connect to the internet. It most likely knows my access point's location. If I use Wi-Fi to connect to the internet and if my access point information is provided, then I can be located. I don't know if this is happening, but Google has enough information to put data together which I think could pretty well locate me. Opening Google maps on my MacBook Air shows the map centred perhaps east of where I am by less than a kilometre. I'm using the broadband services of an ISP which means the address is fixed. My address is available through a variety of sources. I'm currently logged on by name in a Google service. Google knows where I am and the time I'm there. Google isn't the only business that has this type of information available.

Now often people say what does it matter. I'm not doing anything wrong. That's true. However my response is, roughly 10% of people aren't as straight as the rest of us. Those 10% work in companies, government organisations, telcos, even search and social media companies. Your information can get into the hands of good people as well as bad. Keep in mind the high profile leaks that we've seen that have embarrassed governments around the world. Often that information was leaked by trusted staff.

If being tracked concerns you then you may wish to take some steps to minimise your ability to be tracked. You can't stop it just as you can't stop your neighbour from seeing you come and go. But with a little effort you may be able to reduce how much information is collected on you. I'm not really sure though that you can make that much difference given the huge volume of data now being recorded on each of us. Still it doesn't hurt to try.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Java update may change your default search engine in Google Chrome or Internet Explorer to Yahoo.

If you think your default search engine has changed without you realising it, there's a good chance it has.

For some less technical clients I've set up their default search to use one of the options available on the Fun With Search page I created. These search definitions display an icon which is a white J on a blue background indicating JustLocal. If the icon changes the user knows their search engine default has been changed. These definitions link direct to the search engine.

Last year I read Yahoo had done a deal with Firefox in the USA to be the default search engine, so updating Firefox will change the default search engine if you're in the USA. I'm not sure if this applies to Australia as well.

In the following article we see Yahoo and Oracle have done a deal so that when you update Java, the default search engine gets changed. I'm not a fan of this strategy as it creates confusion for the user. In effect it's a bit rude of one piece of software to change the defaults of another, but I suppose that's business.

The article also mentions Yahoo is angling to be the default search engine for Apple Safari later in the year.

With malware, scammers and a whole range of software targeting the default search engine for browsers, one of the most common observations I make with users' computers is their browser search has been hijacked without their knowledge. The legitimate companies are using the same tactics to gain market share which is a pity. This really isn't the type of behaviour you should see from the industry leaders. I suppose the chase for the mighty dollar often is in conflict with the users' own interests.

If you haven't lately, perhaps now is a good time to check the default search engine you're using. A good test is to type in the word 'test' (without the quotes) into the address or search area and see which company displays the search results. Look carefully as some of the nefarious ones try to look like the well known search companies, but there clues you can see. I think many people will be quite surprised.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Office 365 prices look like they're set to increase on the 1st of August.

When I talk to clients about Office 365 we always discuss the rent versus buy option. I don't sell software but it is important to clients to know their options. Regularly I see clients still using Office 2007 and a few using even older software. If you've had Office 2007 then you've been using the software for 7-8 years and that's great value for money.

When you consider renting, subscribing, or whatever they choose to call it, you need to keep in mind it's a yearly amount that doesn't stop because let's face it, if you stop paying you can't edit your files.

I used to think the break-even point was around two and a half years, but then I realised Microsoft charges you from day one and the first renewal is in 12 months. After two years you've more than likely paid more for your software than you used to.

I tend to think the real pain point will come not at the start, or whilst you're paying for the software, but when you decide you no longer need to use the software. It will be at that point you'll feel very much locked in.

The article is a reminder of just how easy it is for prices to be increased once you have your audience locked in.

I often wonder how many businesses could still be using Office 2003/Windows XP if it was still supported. I've seen government departments and corporates still using older software. Eventually they'll have to move on but gee, they've certainly got value out of their software and hardware.

In the end it really is simply a financial decision. Do your numbers and decide what's best for you now and in the future.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 

Internet Explorer versions reaching end-of-life on January 12, 2106.

Most users keep their Internet Explorer up to date and install the latest version. However for those who haven't moved to the latest versions, this quite old page on the Microsoft site is a good reminder.

On the 12th of January 2016, only Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update will receive updates. Since the prior versions of Internet Explorer won't receive updates they should be consider security exposes.

You also have the choice of using a different browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox and the lesser used Opera browser.

Microsoft's strategy appears to be to push people off older versions of software (E.g. Windows XP, Internet Explorer) with the aim of them taking up newer software from Microsoft. From what I'm seeing in my logs this strategy has significantly impacted Microsoft.  Google wisely decided to support roughly 300 million Windows XP users that were abandoned by Microsoft and that appears to be have good for Google.

According to the Netmarketshare site Internet Explorer (all versions) has around 53% market share and Google Chrome around 26%. My own logs which are for 80% Australian users shows Google well ahead of Microsoft. Perhaps it's just what my sites focus on, or it could be we have a different profile to overseas users. For my dictionary site Internet Explorer is 29% and for my Petrol Cost Calculator (which has roughly half mobile users) Internet Explorer is only used by 12% of visitors. Google Chrome is 37% and 42% respectively for my sites.

The reason for sharing these stats is to show many people are making the decision to move to Google Chrome. If Microsoft stops providing support, we at least have alternatives at this point in time.

More importantly though, this post is about making sure if you decide to keep using Internet Explorer, then make sure you're using the latest version that is supported.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Liuns Torvalds uses Gmail for his email. Now that's something I didn't expect read.

When I saw the following article it really was unexpected. From the media we get the impression there's an ongoing battle between open source and commercial software. Linux is probably one of, it not the most successful open source project.

From the media you get the impression diehard open source people would never consider anything commerical. Yet here we are. Possibly the most well known leader in open source using Gmail for their mail service. Not just a commercial service using proprietary software, but one that's based on delivering ads.

I never really expected to see anyone who is a core part of the open source movement not using anything but open source software for their day-to-day needs.

It does however make good business sense. Don't get hung up on whether software is commercial or open source. Focus on your business needs and the software that helps you best meet your objectives. If the open source movement does, then it makes sense you should too.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Microsoft Security Essentials should now be considered end of life for Windows XP users.

For those who decided to keep using Windows XP after April 8th 2014, if they had Microsoft Security Essentials installed they would continue to receive updates I believe. I found the nag screen confused users and suggested they moved to an alternate supported anti-virus product.

This article linked to below isn't particularly clear, but from it I think we can infer Microsoft Security Essentials and the Malicious Software Removal Tool are no longer useful.

If you are still using Windows XP, it's a good time to move to one of the other free anti-virus programs.

As a side note, if you're using Internet Explorer 8, think about using Google Chrome as it is still currently supported under Windows XP.

Eventually you'll probably have no choice but to move as support for other software finishes. There's still roughly 180 million users, but at some point, like all previous version of Windows, the day will come.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Getting positive feedback from clients is always a rewarding experience.

Last night I received this in an email from one of my dictionary users. I always try to assist clients as best I can, so it does feel good to receive such feedback.
If you do find service from a supplier exceptional, it doesn't hurt to let them know. I can say it really does make a difference and is really appreciated. Thank you to the gentleman for taking the time.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Facebook offers to scan users computer using Kaspersky (ESET, Trend Micro, F-Secure).

I read on the internet one user got a block from Facebook when they went to share photographs from a their photography site to their profile. I'd not heard of this before so decided to investigate.

From what I can see, on the 24th of June 2015 Facebook announced an arrangement with Kaspersky to add Kaspersky to their existing list of anti-malware companies (ESET in December 2014, Trend Micro and F-Secure in May 2014).

According to the information provided Facebook, is identifying suspicious behaviour from a computer and is then suggesting the download and running of an anti-malware scanner. Exactly what that suspicious behaviour is, isn't stated. However it does appear that some people may not be able to use Facebook until they perform the download.

Exactly what the deal is between the software firms and Facebook isn't stated. This could simply be free promotion for the companies. It may also be some form of commission on sales arrangement, or straight payment to Facebook. Of course it may also be a payment from Facebook to the software companies. It would be good to know the arrangement as that helps to determine the motivation for the arrangement.

I've tested all of the currently suggested anti-malware software except for F-Secure, and feel this software often doesn't detect malware. If you do get a signal from Facebook, and assuming it is legitimate, it may be worthwhile to perform a full scan of your computer using additional products, or have a computer support person with the appropriate skills check your computer.

The one question on my mind is what are the signals that Facebook is receiving. Facebook state if "even if the malware isn't actively spreading spam or harmful links.", which to me may mean they aren't detecting that type of malware activity. From the posts I've read some activity may be normal activity of users. It may also be possible people are linking to sites that Facebook has identified as infected, but the example which started this investigation was from a person's computer (which the scan showed as clean) with photos from their site that didn't appear to be infected. If may be the headers in the browser agent shows the browser is, or has been hijacked and Facebook could detect that signal.

In the end this could just as easily be a Facebook upsell. Without further information on what the suspicious signals are, it is not possible to determine. I did read one person on scanning their computer found malware, but from my experience, in some cases, up to one in ten people have malware of some type on their computer even though they have anti-malware software installed.  This experience is from migrating people from one anti-malware software package to another across multiple companies.

If you do get this message from Facebook, perform the scan, but then do additional scans.

Also be careful. Since Facebook is now know to do these scans, it is possible the scammers may use this as an attack vector to trick people to install malware. Make sure you're 100% confident the software you are installing is from Facebook.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lenovo PC on a stick launching in July.

I read this article about Lenovo's PC on a stick and I can't help feeling there probably a market for stick computers, but only time will tell.

I've been watching this segment of the market and there's a couple of players, but not any activity in retail stores so far that I've seen. There's a couple of players so with Intel and Lenovo playing their hand, so perhaps there may be more in the near future.

I can see some useful applications for the stick but I do think they need to keep the price super tight. If the price creeps up into the $200 plus range it may be better to use the money in some other way or combination.

It might be interesting to try this out when travelling. Most rooms have TVs with HDMI ports and you could connect to the hotels Wi-Fi or even your own mobile data. Turning an older TV into a Smart TV sounds like a smart idea.

Keep in mind the Intel Atom Z3735F processor in the PC stick relative to today's computers, is very slow indeed. More than capable for certain applications, but really in terms of speed, think about a five to seven year old notebook and that might give you a better idea.

I look forward to seeing if this technology reaches the market in Australia and finding out how people take advantage of these very compact computers.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 901 703 for IT support.

Pendo tablet from Dodo has 1Mobile Market and I wonder if I could access/install the Google Play Store.

When I joined Dodo (this isn't a recommendation for Dodo) I received a free 7" Pendo tablet. I thought I'd pass it on to someone in the family. However when I tested the tablet I found it was so poor in performance it was close to useless as a general tablet. It really has simply sat at the bottom of a draw.

I needed to do some Wi-Fi analysis so I thought perhaps the tablet might be usable for that purpose. I'd tested a couple of apps from the Google Play Store in the past and thought I'd see if I could find them again. The Pendo tablet only has the 1Mobile Market which is an alternate app store. Not knowing much about that app store I prefer at this point to use the Google app store.

After some research I found this information on Google's support site. "If the Google Play Store app still isn't showing up, contact your carrier or manufacturer for help. Unfortunately, if the app isn't on your device, there's no way to download it."

Well that's not the answer I wanted to read, but at least I know. Given the tablet was free it's not a big deal, and I can download some apps that may do what I want, but it does concern me when manufacturers cripple devices in this way. They're the type of device I would like to steer clear off.

It's a good idea to not assume an Android device will necessarily come with all the features you'd normally expect, or even features you don't want and would prefer removed but can't. It's a good idea to make sure the device hasn't been crippled in some way for marketing purposes. If a device has been crippled, at least you'll be able to make a more informed decision.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Office 365 now available on Android mobile phones.

I just received a marketing email from Microsoft letting me know that Office 365 is now available on Android mobile phones. My first thought is what version of the operating system and I've found Microsoft applications may not work on older devices.

At the bottom of the email is very small text in quite faded grey (puts a new meaning on fine print) stating that Office 365 requires Android Kitkat 4.4 or later.

Personally I can't see a need for running Office on my mobile phone (not currently using Android) so it will interesting to see if any of my clients find it useful, and if they do, I'm more than happy to assist them.

I thought I'd share that Office 365 is now available on Android mobile phones, in case others aren't aware and may find that information useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

People unwittingly buying computers with very slow processors.

Lately I've been seeing quite a few relatively new computers that run slower than an average computer from five to six years ago. The one I've assisted a client with over the last couple of days runs at half the speed of my five year old middle of the range notebook, yet the computer was only purchased a year ago.

I stood in a retailer a couple of years ago and an elderly couple were asking for advice on the computers. They ask about the processor performance. They response from the salesperson was, "don't worry about the processor, they're all about the same in computers now", or along those lines. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Another client recently replaced their Windows XP computer from around 2006 with a new computer and asked the retailer for a very fast computer. When I went to install the computer it was half the speed of typical fast computer available now and marginally faster (about 10%) than the computer they'd bought in 2006.

Yes make sure you get the amount of RAM you want, the size of the hard disk, but also check the processor performance and don't just take the retailer's word for it. I'm seeing a lot of people now with computers that will reach end-of-life far sooner than they should, and in some cases are obsolete before they're even purchased. Take the time to check and you'll get much better value from your purchase.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hacked WordPress sites are very common. Make sure you secure your WordPress site.

Firstly let me say, at this point in time I don't support WordPress sites. I do however get calls from people who have had their WordPress sites hacked. In one instance to remove the malicious code, I did go through the site to find the code that their support couldn't find. Generally I leave WordPress support to others.

What I wanted to share is an example of how a hacked WordPress site is being used. Here is a screen capture of an email I received.

I've hovered over the link so you can see the address where a person would go if they clicked on the link. If you check carefully you'll see "wp-content" in the address, which means this site is run using WordPress. Malicious code has most likely be inserted by a hacker and will be used to try to trick people into providing their PayPal credentials.

Make sure if you run a WordPress site you do your best to keep the site updated and secured.  Every day I get many scam emails and often I see the link is for a hacked WordPress site.

If you get emails like these you should delete them. If you get emails from your suppliers (or even people you know) don't click on the links. Instead open your browser and go to the site. If something doesn't feel right trust your instinct. It probably isn't.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

AVG Antivirus FREE can detect the malware, but it won't remove the malware.

A friend contacted me that they were getting a message from their anti-virus program AVG and wondered if anything was wrong. I said take a photo using their mobile phone and email it to me. From the photo you can see AVG has detected the malware.

I wrote back to them letting them know their computer was infected and suggesting they click on the Protect Me option to remove the malware.

They then wrote back that they were still getting the messages and AVG had not removed the malware. At this point I suggested to drop the computer over. I usually scan a computer with multiple anti-virus programs and the scans can take some time. However I said if the scanners can't removed the malware, sometimes there's a clue as to the malware program and that gives me enough information to remove the malware manually. As long as the malware's done no damage and all the scanners don't report an issue, there's a very high probability the malware has been removed. Rootkits that install before the operating system is loaded and thus can hide, are the type of malware where this may not work.

Since the object name in the image provided the path and filename of the malware program I suggested they manually delete the file and then do a full scan which they did. This fixed the problem. I've suggested they do further full scans using multiple anti-virus programs to triple check their computer is clean.

It appears this was a relatively simple malware infection. This approach may not have worked with some malware. I've seen malware which has had three simultaneous infections. Remove one infection and the others recreate the removed infection. Now that was a bit of fun to remove.

The lesson here is even if the anti-virus program can't remove the malware, read the screen carefully, as there may be some clues that can assist you before you need to retain the services of a computer support person.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Migrating floppy disks, CDs, or DVDs to an external hard drive.

A client asked me to copy all his old diskettes and CDs onto an external drive. This can be a relatively slow and thus costly process given the time involved. However I decided to re-purpose some existing code and create a couple of scrips to make the task much faster. The MyAnswers solution 2485 provides the scripts should you be faced with the same task.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Free MS DOS games that can be played in your browser

I came across an article recently letting people know they could play MS DOS games in their browser. Now I'm not really a games person as I enjoy using technology to create rather than play. Having said that most of us have played games over the years so I decided to investigate.

I decided to pick PACMAN and yes it played as expected and yes I died as expected. There's a huge selection of games and I'm sure you'll spot a favourite or two. May be worth checking out.

For many years I really was a bit of a stick-in-the-mud. I'd even remove games from computers I'd install so they wouldn't affect the productivity of staff. However once I saw the joy people got from playing the games, and often playing games also enabled them to gain better skills at using the computer, I softened a bit. But gee, it's really easy to fritter away time playing games so be warned.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT 

How much does it cost to make an Apple watch?

I thought the linked article on the cost for the Apple watch was interesting. When Apple bought out the iPad I was actually very surprised with the pricing. Apple is usually considered to charge more but the iPad came out at a very competitive price point.

With the Apple watch if this article is correct about pricing, Apple is again pricing their products in the premium range. That's OK. Apple knows they've got a lot of enthusiast buyers who are prepared to pay a premium for a "look at me" product. I watched the Apple video when the product was announced and I'm glad I did because it does do a lot more than you'd gather by reading the press articles. However, for me it isn't enough for the price. But hey, that's just me. Happy for others to buy watch.

In any case here's a link to the article.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Monday, April 27, 2015

ATO AUSkey drops support for Google Chrome.

I thought it was interesting to read the ATO has dropped support for Google Chrome users using AUSkey and decided to checkout why from a technical point of view.

It appears the ATO, for users of AUSkey, are no longer supporting Google Chrome as from version 42. Now of course this will create a storm from Chrome users, but on the other hand, this change is a result of changes Google Chrome is putting into place when it stops supporting the technology NPAPI.

Firstly let's say this is a storm in a teacup. Most people I know now run two browsers. Browsers now simply fail on some sites and it's getting worse. To get around this you need to have two browsers installed. When one doesn't work, then use the other. Problem solved.

The government sites I've found to be rather lacking and you really do need to try sites using different browsers. For the government to continue to use Java, when Java is one of the most prevalent attack vectors for malware lacks foresight. I removed Java from my main computer years ago and recommend to others to do the same. Only if an application requires Java is Java needed to be installed. If you do need Java you can have it installed in your secondary browser to minimise the risk of malware infection.

As a tip. I don't recommend Opera as a browser, but if you need to quickly install a second browser, it's quick and easy to install. Best of all there's only 1% of people who use Opera making it less likely for malware writers to write software specifically targeted at Opera users. Of course you can select your own browser of choice for the second browser.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Error code 80092004 Windows 7 Pro update KB3038314

I thought I'd share this experience in case it helps others.

Reloading a Windows 7 Pro 64 bit system and the final step was to apply the updates. There were over 200 updates so it was going to take a while. However it took much longer than I'd expected. The problem is the updates kept failing and then all updates would be removed. Yes. Pretty frustrating.

I decided to try to identify which update was causing the failure with the error code 80092004. It turned out to be KB3038314 which is a "Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems".

Checking on the internet revealed quite a few others having this issue recently. The best approach I found was to simply hide the update. It appears this may be a buggy update.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION To keep your Office applications with interruption, please renew by...Office 365 renewal message

Here's a tip for those wishing to save money on their Office 365 Home renewal.

If you were to click on the Buy button when you get the message, "RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION To keep your Office applications with interruption, please renew by...Office 365 renewal message", and renew your subscription, you may be paying more than you need to.

As you can see from the following screenshot the cost for Office 365 Home is $119 if you renew on the internet.

Checking the cost on the Microsoft online store Office 365 Home is $119 (the same as the renewal online) and Office 365 Personal is $89.

However last year I decided to do a test and found you can renew your subscription by buying the Office 365 subscription from Officeworks (or possibly another retailer) and the renewal worked fine. The only problem I found is you need to wait until the last day, otherwise the renewal starts from the day you enter the subscription and thus you could lose a couple of days if you update early. It doesn't simply extend the renewal.

The benefit is Officeworks has the Ofice 365 Home subscription currently for $87 (limit four per customer for the card, but no such limit for the box version) and Office 365 Personal for $77. In both cases a good saving can be made by purchasing at Officeworks. A quick check of the other major retailers found their prices were higher.

For those with staff discount at Officeworks, even better.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Global companies Google, Microsoft and Apple coming under the spotlight.

There's no doubt there's a lot of mileage to be gained by bashing the big companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple. Yes, they probably deserve it, but generally they comply with the law and aim to minimise their taxes. Even individuals can appreciate that strategy.

What I find interesting when reading the articles is that often we're purchasing from overseas, yet how often do we hear that prices are set because it's more expensive to do business in Australia. Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

One person I know had their Apple iPad shipped direct from China. Where's the price difference? It's not being delivered first to Australia and then to the client. Simply direct as it could be to any other country.

Microsoft charges Australians more for Office 365. Perhaps the pricing needs to be reconsidered since they're not paying the 30 cents corporate tax rate.

Google, and I have to be balanced here since I use their services, and in full disclosure get paid by them. I claim all income and pay the appropriate level of tax. However those paying for advertising to promote their business in Australia are buying a product from overseas. Those making money from publishing ads on their sites are being paid from overseas. Some I suspect won't be claiming that income.

All the time we have to keep in mind whilst the government makes mileage from this and how unfair it is, they are the biggest buyers of the services, hardware and software. Not happy, then go and buy your product elsewhere is what they should be doing.

We also need to keep in mind that we're told Australian companies, and in fact many major companies around the world play the same global tax game. Some of the companies are so big that you could really consider them global citizens, so if countries provide the mechanisms to minimise tax, then if people were in the same position, they'd probably do the same.

What it probably does mean is that our very complex tax system is failing. Hopefully in time all parties will find an appropriate solution to the problem. I'm sure there's an answer if the desire's there.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Videos not working in Facebook.

Everyone's being told to post videos in Facebook. There's something they probably don't know.

Flash and Java are the two products which make up most of the top 10 malware vectors (that is ways to exploit). By removing Java and Flash you thus reduce the chances of infecting your computer. Based on my experience of removing malware, Java in particular is often involved.

I've removed Java a couple of years ago and see no need for it. However that may not be the case for everyone. I've also been running my Windows machine without Flash now for probably two years. Those nagging video ads you get when visiting a site was probably more of an incentive than the malware issue.

Lately however I've noticed more people posting videos in Facebook which I now simply skip because I can't view them. The reason is Facebook uses Flash for desktop/notebook devices, but HTML5 for mobiles and tablets. Mobile and tablets don't support Flash at all. Video on mobile devices is not an issue as Facebook handles this correctly. Of course watching videos on a mobile device may create data usage issue and for some could be very expensive, but that's a different issue.

Some stats.

I've check my dictionary site ( where around 90% of the traffic is from Australia. Currently around 7-8% of users running Windows and Mac do not have the version of Flash set and I suspect that means it is not installed. This trend may be growing.

This is simply a heads-up. If you post a video in Facebook a certain percentage of people won't be able to view it. If you post a link to a site and not upload the video to Facebook, chances are the site will correctly handle the video so it can be watched. Of course to counter that, I've found through testing only a few per cent of people check the links. Facebook also by design wants people to stay in Facebook and not exit outside.

If you or someone you know finds videos in Facebook not working, this may be one reason.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Looking for someone to do conveyancing in Melbourne?

If you search Google for Conveyancing Melbourne keep an eye out for JJ Legal. JJ Legal are an experienced conveyancing and property lawyer in Melbourne. For those who feel more comfortable speaking Cantonese, JJ Legal is fluent in English and Cantonese.

Now you might wonder why Online Connections is promoting JJ Legal. I've decided since so many people get ripped off with SEO providers, to provide my SEO skills to assist smaller businesses. Now SEO services isn't something I normally sell since it's not possible to always predict an outcome when dealing with Google. For that reason, if the agreed outcome is not met, then there is no fee. This is the type of guarantee all SEO providers should offer.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My blog posts have been copied by another Google blogger. How can I report this?

I was quite surprised one day to find that this blog had been largely copied. The posts copied to create another blog for the purposes of spam and redirecting people to other sites, which may or not have been for malicious purposes. At a minimum the sites were generating income using Google's own Adsense service and most likely ripping Google off.

Google support I've found generally to be terrible since it is not possible to make contact with them directly and you need to go through the often substandard help forums. I initially put a request on the help forum and got a response which I appreciated, but didn't feel the approach would help. I continued to investigate.

I found the following page ( and submitted the request. Google does not want spammers and scammers using their service, but I was surprised to see how quickly they can respond. The offending blog was removed very quickly.

If you find you're in the same situation as I was, then give the above page a go.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.