Saturday, December 25, 2010

Twilight hunk Xavier Samuel

Aussie celebs fly in for holiday fun ... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Myer Stocktake sale catalogue

Myer Catalogue: Australia's Biggest Stocktake Sale Starts Tomorrow - Ends 26 Jan 2011 ... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Harvey Norman Half Yearly Sale

Half Yearly Clearance... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, December 24, 2010

Boxing day sale catalogues

After Christmas there are always sales, so I decided to check out if the latest Target catalogue was available online and it was. I’ve found if you’re about to buy something popular it is a good idea to check the online catalogues. This approach has saved me money in the past and I thought it might also help others. ... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vandals destroy Diamond Valley decorations

New Greensborough resident Karyn Bilney’s festive spirit was dampened when she discovered her favourite decoration, an animated rocking horse, had been ripped down and trashed.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where the wild (and organic) things are

Up till recently, the only 'Dirty Dozen' I knew of was the TV show back in the 80s. Now, I've become acquainted with a different kind of 'Dirty Dozen'... 12 fruits and vegies that you should stay away from, unless you're buying organic.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Mr Cruel is suspected of abducting and murdering Karmein Chan in 1991

POLICE have revealed a potential breakthrough in the hunt for a notorious child rapist and killer came after they trawled through 12,000 pieces of evidence.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Neville Crawford: It's a frame-up

But Templestowe became ‘‘restaurant city ... restaurants and beauty parlours’’, and three years ago Crawford moved the business to Northcote.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

They're here: locusts descend on Melbourne

It follows reports of swarming locusts in Hillside and Templestowe in the past day, while workers have spotted individual locusts in the city this morning.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Sisters shine in piano concert at Federation Square

TEMPLESTOWE sisters Jenny, 11, and Vivian Chen, 12, hope to follow in the footsteps of their idol Alan Kogosowski after performing with the classical piano great at Federation Square.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, December 6, 2010

Templestowe Rotary sends ambulance to Fiji

Ken Wall and Marilyn Fraser with the ambulance donated to Fiji... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Receding Flood

Directly underneath Fitzsimons Lane. The things dangling over the water are gates used by kyakists (I have no idea what the right word is) in competition. There was a fair bit of wet, very slippery mud overa meter above the water line, so it had been higher.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, December 3, 2010

Williamsons Road Templestowe reducedd to one lane each way.

I just went to and from Shoppingtown via Williamsons Road in Templestowe and there is road works on the west side and activity I think relating to the new construction on the east side at Serpells Road. The time I went through was at 1:15pm and traffic is reduced to one lane each way. You may wish to avoid the section of Williamsons road between Lynwood Parade and Foote Street in Templestowe.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Power outage Templestowe - 2 December 2010

A recent power outage occurred from approximately 6pm to 7:30pm in Templestowe in the area around the Apple peel in Fitzsimons Lane. According to the recorded message for faults the reason given was equipment failure. I don't know if it was the same fault as the expected time for restoration was documented as 9:30pm to 10pm and the power at least in the Templestowe area was already restored.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Libs sweep Manningham's electorates

Nick Kotsiras celebrates his win at Yiannis Greek Tavern in Kew.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Activist poised to control state's upper house

JOURNALIST and shareholder activist Stephen Mayne could hold the balance of power in the new Legislative Council... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Monday, November 29, 2010

Victorian Election results 2010

For those interested in the Victorian Election results for 2010 visit the VEC site. Select Current Election. Select Results. On this page you’ll see a summary in terms of numbers of votes and percentages for parties. If you select the “More detailed” link you can then change the result for your district and similarly for the region. The VEC doesn’t show a good summary of the situation with the seats for each party. For that it is best to check a couple of the main media sites.

Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by Kelvin Eldridge 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Stephen Mayne good chance for Upper House seat

MANNINGHAM Councillor Stephen Mayne looks set to become an MLC with analysts predicting he will take the fifth spot in the Northern Metropolitan Region.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Manningham voters brave wet weather in Bulleen, Doncaster and Warrandyte

VOTERS were forced to dodge rain drops, a barrage of voting flyers and the smell of a sizzling sausage while heading to the polls today.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Oceania Council meet at Templestowe

On Tuesday 23rd November the Oceania Council met at the Province Centre at Templestowe. ... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Voters head to the polls in Doncaster, Bulleen and Warrandyte

Doncaster’s Laurel Moorfoot said she was not enthused about voting for either party because they had become too closely aligned.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Manningham animal lovers back time extension for jailed pets

Jenaya Du Toit and her dog Chloe are supporting a new campaign against killing animals in shelters.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Friday, November 26, 2010

Call to cull Manningham kangaroos

THE State Government has been called upon to begin a kangaroo culling program in Manningham... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Libs outdo Labor on Manningham election promises

THE Liberal Party has announced more than $17 million worth of promises for Manningham in the lead-up to Saturday’s election compared to less than $500,000 from Labor.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Flemington Sports Bet

VIC Seat - Bulleen

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Candidate for Bulleen

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Candidate for Bulleen

Ivan Reid BIO

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Victoria To Invest $14.9 Million For Playgrounds Across Victoria

Mr Brumby said new large adventure playgrounds would be built for Victorian families at:

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Bulleen - Victoria 2010

Bulleen was first created before the 1985 election.

- Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blackout in Templestowe

The area to the west and east of Williamsons Road near the Porter street roundabout, has been is experiencing a blackout since around 1am. At 1:50am for a moment the power came on.

At 1:55am the area is still blacked out.

Kelvin Eldridge

Update: At approximately 2:25am power was restored.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

27 Stradmore Avenue, Templestowe auction result

I  noticed the house at 27 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe was up for auction today at 1pm.

There was plenty of interest and I'd noticed there had also been plenty of interest in the open for inspection days.

I decided to ask how the auction went. For those interested the house was passed in at $1.24 million.

Since there isn't a sold sticker on the board and it is now 6pm, I can only assume at this point the house isn't sold.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TED: Ideas worth spreading

I’ve listened to a number of the talks from a site called TED. I find some of the ideas shared to be thought provoking and felt that perhaps others may wish to know about the site.


Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world

- Kelvin Eldridge


Trucks travelling on the Eastern Freeway will be restricted from the right hand lane from next week, Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas announced today.

I found this article as a result of the discussion on this forum I hadn’t been aware these changes were coming about. Things just seem to happen in Victoria without any input by the people.

I was driving back from Geelong on Monday using the freeway and noticed some writing in the right lane indicating some form of restriction. There was three lanes. No one was in the right lane. I was in the left lane and a car was further back in the middle lane. I could see a truck approaching that was stuck behind the car in the middle lane. I had my cruise control on and my car was gradually moving further forward. The truck moved into the lane behind me. My cruise control was set to 100kph but I know because of the way most speedometers are set low and I’d just measured my 100kph speed using the speed check, that I was really doing 95kph. So here is a truck that can overtake in the right lane which had no traffic at all, now forced to be stuck behind slower cars in the middle and left lane. I moved into the centre lane enabling the truck to move on and then moved back to the left lane after the truck had moved ahead. The driver showed their appreciation.

I understand there will be reasons for the laws to be changed. But when I see a situation like this it reminds me the government seems to use a sledge hammer to crack a nut. Surely when there is a low volume of traffic and no one is in the right lane, trucks should be able to use the lane for a short period to pass slower moving traffic. I have to add I don’t know any of the specific reasons for the new legislation. It would be interesting to see a list of the reasons for the change in legislation, the options considered and why this was considered the best compromise.

- Kelvin Eldridge

New SmartBus Routes and DART Smartbus 901, 905, 906, 907, 908.

I found the references to Smartbus and then DART to be somewhat confusing. Are there now three bus services or something I thought. So I thought I’d simplify things. A bus is a bus. Just think of the Smartbus and DART as marketing, remove the terms and think of a bus service. Then it becomes simpler.

901 – This bus goes from Frankston to Melbourne Airport. Quite a few people have said to me who’d bother. But I reply, “think of the bus as a continuous route where you can get on and off where it suits you. If I just want to go from Templestowe to the Pines I can”. Just because a bus can go from Frankston to Melbourne Airport doesn’t mean we all have to use it that way. The 901 travels up Blackburn road to the Pines, along Reynolds Road, Fitzsimmons Lane, Main Road, Para Road, Greensborough Station. To me we now have a service which services Templestowe, Doncaster East, and can be used to go to Greensborough Plaza, The Pines and at a push, Ringwood shopping centre.

905 – City to The Pines. This bus travels from Lonsdale Street, Victoria Parade, Hoddle Street, Eastern Freeway, Thompsons Road, Parker Street, Porter Street, Blackburn Road, The Pines. It replaces the old 301 route and now makes the service a continuous service every fifteen minutes between 6:30am and 9Pm on weekdays and 30 minutes at other times. Previously the 301 stopped travelling to the city and a bus charge was required.

906 – City to Warrandyte. This bus travels from Lonsdale Street, Victoria Parade, Hoddle Street, Eastern Freeway, Blackburn Road, The Pines, Andersons Creek Road, Heidelberg Warrandyte Road, Warrandyte. The bus runs seven days a week every 7-10 minutes during peak times, every 15 minutes during weekdays and every 30 minutes at other times.

907 – City to Mitcham. This bus travels from Lonsdale Street, Victoria Parade, Hoddle Street, Eastern Freeway, Doncaster Road, Mitcham Road, Mitcham Station. The bus runs seven days a week every 7-10 minutes during peak times, every 15 minutes during weekdays and every 30 minutes at other times.

908 – City to The Pines. This bus travels from Lonsdale Street, Victoria Parade, Hoddle Street, Eastern Freeway, High Street, King Street, Blackburn Road, The Pines. The bus runs seven days a week every 7-10 minutes during peak times, every 15 minutes during weekdays and every 30 minutes at other times.

To me the really interesting route is the 901. Because this always stays in zone 2, it means only a zone 2 ticket is required and that can be more cost effective.

I still feel there are two aspects missing. A bus going from The Pines to Heidelberg station via Foote Street and Templestowe Road would help reduce one bus for locals travelling to La Trobe University and those taking the train from Heidelberg station. A second aspect is the cost of public transport discourages very short trips. It costs me the same to go from Frankston to the Airport as it does to go from my local bus stop to Templestowe Village shops or up to the local swimming pool. I noticed the same problem in the UK. Short trips aren’t encouraged and I think that is short-sighted. This encourages people to use their cars. The fuller buses are the better for the environment. When buses run around empty and via quite indirect paths, a fuel efficient car may be a better environmental choice and that shouldn’t be the case. A gold coin option for short trips on buses I feel should be part of our public transport options.

The update to the bus network in the Templestowe area is a welcome change. Will it encourage more people to use public transport. Only time will tell.

Kelvin Eldridge



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reduce the need for printed catalogues like Target's

I often think there is no need for printed catalogues from most of the major department stores and have a no junk mail sign on my letterbox. Unfortunately that doesn’t stop the department stores as they simply move their catalogues into the local papers and local papers ignore the no junk mail signs. If I want to check out a department store’s catalogue I just go to their site such as Target’s ( and select the area. Catalogues will keep coming because department stores make money from the catalogues as advertisers have to pay for product placement. If catalogues were a cost they’d probably stop tomorrow and that would save a lot of trees. Check out the online catalogues. You can often find out the information before your local paper arrives. When I’m looking to buy a commonly advertised item I’ve often checked for and found products using the online catalogues saving some money.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mobile speed camera locations (Bulleen, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Eltham, Lower Plenty, Montmorency, Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Warrandyte)

Published mobile speed camera locations for October 2010.

Bulleen Road, between Thompsons Road and Manningham Road

King Street, between Williamsons Road and Veda Court
George Street, between Victoria Street and Williamsons Road
High Street, between Manningham Road and Doncaster Road
Wetherby Road, between Doncaster Road and Koonung Creek
Doncaster Road, between Rose Street and High Street

Doncaster East
Doncaster Road, between Blackburn Road and Wetherby Road
King Street, between Nedlands Court and Ashcroft Avenue
Blackburn Road, between Raintree Road and Johns Grove
Blackburn Road, between Beverley Street and Turnstone Street
Blackburn Road, between Reynolds Road and King Street

Main Road, between Leane Drive and Kalbar Road

Sherbourne Road, between Porter Street and Karingal Drive

High Street, between Rosemary Street and Linton Avenue
Serpells Road, between Church Road and Killibury Court
Reynolds Road, between Hawtin Street and Smiths Road

Templestowe Lower
Manningham Road, between Ayr Street and High Street

North Warrandyte
Research-Warrandyte Road, between Camelot Close and San Angelo Road

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Using public transport to turn a 40 minute drive into a 3 hour trip

Today I decided to catch the free 901 Smartbus and head off to Hawthorn. Yes I knew it would go to Blackburn station which wasted a bit of time, but that's OK, it was to be an adventure.

I arrived at the bus stop in Williamsons Road and checked the Metlink iPhone app for the 901. First problem was there was no 901 Smartbus listed in the nearby function. You'd think they'd have updated their application. Perhaps it was my fault as I hadn't sync'ed the app. But a check now shows no updates available. Pretty poor really.

I decided to grab the first bus which was a 902 Smartbus. The problem isn't the bus trips as the actual trip is OK. It is the waiting between trips. A 15 minutes wait at Doncaster for the next bus to Box Hill. A 20 minute wait at Box Hill for the next train. The tram at Hawthorn was only going to be three minutes but I decided to walk the short distance to the destination. The tram came and beat me by one stop. I had no way of knowing if it would be on time. I dropped off the item I set out to drop off and caught the next tram back which was running two minutes late. Lucky for me or I'd have missed it.

I didn't mind which way I went back home and this tram went to the end of the line in North Balwyn. No problems I thought. The end of the line will always have a connection up to Doncaster Shoppingtown at regular intervals.

How wrong was I. The only bus on a Sunday was the Route 207. I was lucky as I had to wait 20 minutes to the 5:08pm. Had I arrived earlier and just missed the previous bus at 3:38pm I'd have had to wait up to an hour and a half. But check out the bus timetable. To have a tram terminate and have just 8 connecting buses for a day is an outlandish service.

A drive on a Sunday from Templestowe to Hawthorn and back would have taken about 40 minutes. Using public transport it took me a little over 3 hours.

It is no wonder we need our cars. I pity the people in North Balwyn.

I enjoy exploring the buses and personally think all politicians should be forced to use public transport. If they did we'd have the best public transport system in the world. Just try telling the Prime Minister you were late because your train was cancelled and see how far that gets you.

Kelvin Eldridge

Smartbus 901 free for two weeks

“An extended SmartBus Route 901 from Frankston to Melbourne Airport is starting on Sunday September 26. Route 901 is free to all passengers during the first two weeks of operation – to Sunday 10 October 2010.” - Metlink

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mobile speed camera locations - September 2010 (Bulleen, Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Eltham)

Mobile speed camera locations for September 2010.

High Street, between Rosemary Street and Linton Avenue, Templestowe
Serpells Road, between Church Road and Killibury Court , Templestowe
Reynolds Road, between Hawtin Street and Smiths Road, Templestowe
Manningham Road, between Ayr Street and High Street, Templestowe Lower
King Street, between Williamsons Road and Veda Court, Doncaster
George Street, between Victoria Street and Williamsons Road, Doncaster
High Street, between Manningham Road and Doncaster Road, Doncaster
Wetherby Road, between Doncaster Road and Koonung Creek, Doncaster
Doncaster Road, between Rose Street and High Street, Doncaster
Doncaster Road, between Blackburn Road and Wetherby Road, Doncaster East
King Street, between Nedlands Court and Ashcroft Avenue, Doncaster East
Blackburn Road, between Raintree Road and Johns Grove, Doncaster East
Blackburn Road, between Beverley Street and Turnstone Street, Doncaster East
Blackburn Road, between Reynolds Road and King Street, Doncaster East
Bulleen Road, between Thompsons Road and Manningham Road, Bulleen

Kelvin Eldridge

Doncaster burglary squad team leader Det Sgt Doug Beare said the results were pleasing

Son keen to return to Templestowe murder house

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eastern freeway traffic cameras show up-to-date traffic conditions (Bulleen Road, Yarra Bend)

Frequently when I get to around Bulleen Road on the Eastern Freeway of a night, the bank up of traffic ahead is shocking. I’ve often wondered if there was a way I could check out the traffic beforehand. As it turns out VicRoads provides a live feed from their cameras which are updated frequently. Below are the links to the cameras that interest me and may be of interest to others in the local area.


Bulleen Road looking East


Eastern Freeway at Yarra Bend looking East


Happy motoring.


Kelvin Eldridge


Students danced their way to health at Templestowe school

Monday, September 13, 2010

Metlink News - Eltham, Hurstrbridge line delay

After writing the earlier post stating an advisory service by Metlink was required I couldn’t help feeling Metlink might have something in place. I checked and they do have a News page which provides updates. Those with smartphones may wish to check for delays or issues whilst waiting, or before starting their journey. The JustLocal blog entry was found within minutes by Google so a search of Google would have worked if I know about an issue in the local area but Metlink pages for the delay don’t appear. Trains are now working normal again on the Hurstbridge line.

Kelvin Eldridge

UPDATE: Sadly it appears the delay may have been someone was hit by a train at Montmorency this morning.

Eltham train disruption this morning

Trains from Eltham station to the city weren’t going this morning and a bus to Greensborough was needed. The government needs some form of advisory service for the public as this type of unexpected situation causes everyone grief and results in loss of confidence in the public transport system. The problem is bosses don’t care why people are late and it causes friction in the workplace. The bus to Eltham from Templestowe could have warned commuters so alternate travel plans could have been made. I pity the workers who have to face their bosses this morning.

Kelvin Eldridge  

UPDATE: Sadly it appears the delay may have been someone was hit by a train at Montmorency this morning.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

MELBOURNE'S 10 most violent railway stations aren't Eltham, Heidelbery or Box Hill

The analysis showed 45 per cent of all reported assaults occurred at Flinders Street, Dandenong, Broadmeadows, Footscray, St Albans, Ringwood, Bayswater, Frankston, Southern Cross and Thomastown stations.
I was pleased to read in this article in The Age, the local railway stations which are typically used by people from my local area weren’t in the top ten list of stations. Of course Southern Cross is a concern as it is one of the common destinations in the city.
I also liked reading that by being sensible and covering just 10 stations where 45% of the violence occurs, targeted use of enforcement resources may be able to make a difference for a lot of commuters. One of the concerns with public transport is always safety and poor safety can easily dissuade people from using public transport.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, September 6, 2010

Data on obesity in Australia and other countries

I often hear people quoting various figures about Australia being one of the most obese countries do I decided to search for some current data and found the following site. On the site you can find a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet with a range of health related data.

OECD Health Data 2010 - Frequently Requested Data

I found the data on the increase in obesity (total of males and females) from 1980 (8.3%) to 2007 (24.8%) to be quite staggering. Until recently I was one of those people in the obese classification. Yes sometimes when I would walk and catch my reflection I thought there was a resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock, but honestly I didn't think or feel like I was obese. I was!

I worked out a method to lose weight and for the first time in  over a decade lost weight and continued to lose weight. Over 20kg. Often I'd lose a few kg, plateau, put it all back on and then continue to gradually put on weight. But with my new approach I got my weight under control and know what I need to do to keep my weight under control. I wrote a BMI/BRM calculator in which I share the basis of my approach.

The following is a list of the top obese countries based on the data provided.

United States (2008) 33.8%
Mexico (2006) 30%
New Zealand (2007) 26.5%
Australia (2007) 24.8%
United Kingdom (2008) 24.5%
Canada (2008) 24.2%
Ireland (2007) 23.0%
Luxemburg (2007) 20%

I also found the stats on tobacco use very interesting. The percentage of Australians over 15+ who are daily smokers has gone from  43% in 1964 to 16.6% in 2007. The message to give up smoking and the increasing tax does appear to have made a significant difference.

I was recently in Greece and noticed cigarettes are incredibly inexpensive. A carton for around $20-$30. When I looked at the figures for Greece which is 43% in 1987 to 39.7% in 2008 there hasn't been much change. This indicates to me the price of cigarettes makes a considerable difference to smoker participation.

I found these stats interesting and thought others might enjoy knowing about the statistics.

Kelvin Eldridge

Fr John Curtis with all that is left of the Holy Cross Church's statue of Jesus

Templestowe homestead faces demolition

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Smartbus 901 and 903 services for Templestowe

A number of new SmartBus services start soon with the advantage of more frequent services. Of interest to Templestowe residents will be the SmartBus route 901 which appears to go from Frankston via Templestowe to the Airport.

I can only imagine the journey will take quite a long time from Templestowe to the Airport, but at least we now might have a cost effective option. A two hour Metcard certainly beats the taxi fare.

The other service is the SmartBus Route 903 which goes to and from the City. From what I can see on weekends the existing 301 bus came more frequently during peak times, but then comes around every half hour during the day with a change of bus required after hours. On weekends you needed to change buses at Manningham Road. A pretty poor service really.

I recently used the SmartBus 908 service via Eltham to catch the train to go to the city. It isn't quick at around an hour and a half (transport time 52 minutes with the rest of the time waiting and walking), but at least the service is now more regular.

The 903 bus will obviously be the quicker way to get to and from the city as it goes via the freeway. The current 301 bus I would estimate would take around 45 minutes.

I'm often wonder about how environmentally friendly buses are. From what I read the average occupancy is around 10 people (we all see the empty buses travelling around) and their fuel consumption is very high.

The best option of course is to do as much as possible locally, which is why I started JustLocal.

I'm looking forward to giving the new buses a go and in particular seeing how the more regular weekend bus service goes.

Kelvin Eldridge

TIP: Daily Metcards are good value on Sundays. If you buy the 5 x Daily appears you can also use them on Saturday which means travelling by public transport on the weekend to and from the city can be very good value for one or two people.

Samsung galaxy and Acer Android range and why waiting may be a good idea

A number of people have recently asked me about Android and Apple mobile devices. My suggestion has been to keep in mind that between now and the end of year it looks like there is going to be quite some activity in the mobile market.

This year we will see Microsoft release their Windows 7 mobile phone operating system which will run on a number of manufacturers phones. Hopefully the lack of copy and paste won't annoy people too much or they could be in trouble.

I recently read an article about Acer releasing a range of mobiles using Android which won't be tied to contracts and available at retailers. You can check out the Acer range here. I can't help feeling the use of an older version 1.6 of Android on the lower end of the range will mean you'll have to check the mobiles out very carefully. The trade-off is probably going to be in price. Check out the technical specifications carefully. I noticed except for the Stream the Acer mobiles supported only the  B and G standards for Wi-Fi. This may or may not be important to some people.

In the area of tablets the iPad has the jump, but other companies are coming to the party. For example check out the Samsung Galaxy ( which is a 7" tablet. Very impressive. It has all the features of the iPad and then some. I did notice Samsung needs to bump up the spec for the camera though.

In the future we'll also see HP bring out mobiles and tablets using their WebOS operating system (originally by Palm). I sell quite a bit of HP equipment and my first pocket PCs were Compaq/HP, but I just wonder how well they'll do. I often sell HP computers with the Windows operating system, but I'd have to have very good reasons to consider WebOS,

Yes we are in for interesting times. I love gadgets and it will be very hard to resist. But in the end I like to get value from a gadget. The good thing for the moment is Apple is a pretty safe bet. You know what you're getting and you know they'll be around. But even the Apple 3G iPhone I saw some people buy on contract at the start of this year, can't take advantage of multi-tasking so mobiles do age very quickly. The market can change very quickly. If the Samsung Galaxy was available in Australia and cost the same as the entry level iPad, I'd seriously consider it over an iPad.

Yes we are indeed heading for interesting times in the mobile gadget market.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My take on the new Apple iPod Touch (iTouch) range just announced

I don't have an Apple iPod Touch (iTouch), but I did come close to buying one. As a result of reviewing the now older Apple iPod Touch models, I still have an interest in the iTouch and seeing how the new range stacks up.

Here are the things which caught my attention with a new range just released.

The old range consisted of the 8GB model which had the old processor ($268), a 32GB ($399) and 64GB ($549). The 32GB and 64GB units both had the new processor.

The new range now appears to all contain the A4 processor meaning we no longer having to make a choice between the slow processor (which potentially couldn't take advantage of all the features iOS4 such as multi-tasking when it was released) and this consistency makes the decision much easier.

The new models are 8GB ($289), 32GB ($378) and 64GB ($499). It is good to see the entry level price is still around the same as it was before.

This is where my requirements and interest may differ from others. My interest is in using the Apple iPod Touch (I call it the iTouch) as a portable computer so I can check the internet and my email whilst at home, or when out our near a free wireless hotspot. I'm not really interested in games, music or videos in general. I don't think the iTouch is the right device for taking pictures or videos, as without optical zoom it is very limited. However I have found many times a quick shot on the iPhone has been very useful, so whilst it isn't good enough as a camera/video replacement to me, it is still a very handy feature to have.

One additional feature of the iTouch which interests me is the ability to use Skype whilst in a wireless location such as home or when travelling. Whilst standing in the main centre of Athens (Greece) and being able to call the family at home for about three cents a minute (Skype charges as the internet access was free) was priceless for us and a fellow traveller.

Now what I'd really like is the iTouch with 3G data. I believe the parts only cost about $20-$30 more so one day it may happen.

For me the new retina display isn't a biggie. I find the current screen is good and I suspect the new screen will be better. But it isn't something that would compel me to buy the iTouch.

The addition of the cameras however now makes the iTouch a very useful device even though I have said it isn't a replacement for digital cameras or video cameras (yet).

Facetime to me is one of those "gee that's interesting, but do I really want to sit there looking at someone else whilst chatting". I'd much rather go and see them. But I can see the appeal of being able to see family and friends who are far away. In general there's something about video phones that doesn't appeal to me. One thought that came to mind is the iTouch would make a good mirror. How many times when eating at a restaurant have you thought I hope I don't have something caught between my teeth, or you are about to go to that meeting and wonder how your hair is sitting? Now to me that's handy.

HD recording is probably going to be one of those reasons to buy a unit with more memory rather than the entry level iTouch. However to me, HD recording is a little bit of an exaggeration. If I understand it correctly, it is HD recording in standard definition. To me it should be called SD recording. I think some people will be disappointed with the term HD being used. Again however having HD recording for those moments you wish to record will be very handy. I recorded a few things I wanted to capture whilst away recently and the videos were great to show others. Showing everyone how the Eiffel tower now sparkles of a night can really only be done with video.

The built-in speaker and microphone will undoubtedly work with Facetime, but I'm more interested to see if the iTouch will work with Skype as that opens up the possibility of using the iTouch as a wireless phone around the home and work. With iOS4 providing multi-tasking, I am interested in seeing how Skype performs on the iTouch.

The new iTouch now supports wireless N as well as B and G. That was expected and good to see.

One thing I am curious about is I've read, but can't confirm, the iPhone and possibly the iTouch might be able to use an external Bluetooth keyboard. This makes me curious. Carrying around a full size keyboard doesn't appeal to me, but neither does trying to type something of any length on the iTouch screen. I can see if an external keyboard does work, some form of portable external keyboard may become available.

Seven hours of video and 40 hours of audio means the iTouch can now be a good companion whilst travelling on discount airlines, or passing away some of those less exciting times on buses and trains. Perhaps even keeping the children entertained on a long trip. I could have really done with that in the past.

Another feature I'm interested in testing out is the external video connection options. I have an iPhone 3GS and have tried the external video cable, but I found the iPhone really heats up and that makes me worry it could cause damage to the battery. I'm interested in finding out what the "Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter" does. I almost get the feeling this is getting close to turning the iTouch into a very portable computer and I think that would be very interesting if it did happen. With a high resolution screen and an external wireless keyboard, the iTouch could easily go from portable device to desktop computer (albeit with less power, but still very usable). Unfortunately when I last tested the iPhone 3GS video output was only for playing videos and pictures. I would prefer to be able to display whatever is showing on the screen and that would enable me to read the internet on a large screen. I must go and see if iOS4 has improved this. I see Steve Jobs displaying what he has on his screen via the big screen and can't help wonder why it isn't available to everyone.

I am certainly looking forward to visiting my local Apple store in Doncaster to check out the new iTouch range. I wonder when they will actually have stock. I'll check that out next time I'm in the store.

Kelvin Eldridge


1. It appears photos can only be taken with the front camera which is VGA. The front and rear cameras can both take video. I always find it interesting the features that aren't included, so as not to take sales away from the dearer iPhone 4, or that then can later be included as part of the next release. I really don't know Apple's reasons. For many not being able to take a photo from the rear camera will leave them disappointed in the iTouch range. For me this means the 8GB looks more attractive because since it can't do photos from the rear camera, I wouldn't be using it for photos. I actually think this is very disappointing that Apple would do this.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Solar installations giving home owners a disappointing average saving of $200 a year on electricity bills.

I noticed this article from the online version of the local paper where seven neighbours compared the savings of their solar installations over the past twelve months.

In particular this comment interested me.

"The data, collected over the past 12 months, showed an average saving of $200 a year on electricity bills."

I also thought this comment about going solar was interesting.

"Templestowe resident Ron Gaudion said that while he found that the savings were "disappointing" and "below predictions", the decision to install a solar power system, which cost around $1800 after the Federal Government rebate, was not about making money."

Over the last few months I've reviewed both solar and basic energy reduction strategies. Whilst the local government offer was a bulk offer for $1,800 to install solar, the common figure quoted in the press is around $2,990. Local residents are finding the payback is around nine years and if others pay the dearer price, they may find the payback to be closer to 15 years. What also has to be kept in mind is the government is chipping in an amount I suspect to be around $7,000 of our taxpayers money to benefit the few who thought they'd save a lot of money. I personally don’t believe others should have to pay for my choice to install solar, so I prefer to pay for it myself.

On the other hand basic energy reduction strategies cost very little to implement. For example I've purchased a foot switch and a remote controlled power board for under $100 in total. I also purchased low energy lights (whilst on special) rather than having taxpayers pick up the cost of around $10 per light using the governments scheme. The benefit is I also ended up with the lights I wanted rather than the one size fits all approach. In addition I purchased a basic device which showed me the wattage a device was using for around $40, so I could make informed decisions.

The savings I'm seeing are around $150-$170 a quarter which means I paid off the devices in the first quarter and have been saving money ever since. No taxpayers money. No solar panels detracting from the look and potentially the value of my home. Just a bit of investigation and then some simple changes in habits.

I continue to look for ways to utilise solar panels without other taxpayers having to pick up the tab. It is quite hard however as I'm finding it difficult to get a payback of under 7-10 years and that's just for the solar panels. But of course that doesn’t include any form of grant.

For those who are interested solar and energy reduction techniques, I've created an Energy Cost Calculator which will enable you to work out how much a device is costing you. The calculator plus the energy meter is what I used to reduce my energy usage.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, August 27, 2010

Smartbus 902 (Smart bus) - The adventure

Ever since the Smartbus 902 service started running via Templestowe I've wanted to test out the service and share the experience with others, who like me, may not take public transport very often, if at all.

Roughly speaking, during the week the Smartbus runs every 15 minutes and on weekends every 30 minutes. I remember when I first moved to Templestowe I waited for an hour on the weekend for a bus on Williamsons Road and nothing came in either direction. Things have certainly changed for the better.

I decided to take the Smartbus from the corner of Foote Street and Williamsons Road to Eltham station and then catch the train to Southern Cross station. From there I was meeting a business colleague.

Before taking the Smartbus I called the Metlink info line to make sure I could purchase a ticket on the bus and confirm the daily travel card was $10.60. It was confirmed I could buy a ticket on the bus. I checked the timetable and felt I could make the 10:54am so I was off on the adventure. But first a check of the weather on the internet. It was currently 9 degrees with a maximum of 13 degrees and cloudy, so a thick jumper was in order. I also threw a pocket raincoat into my bag in case of rain. It is Melbourne after all. Much easier to carrying than an umbrella. I was now ready for the adventure.

A brisk walk to the bus stop and the Smartbus was there waiting. I was lucky as I'd left home at 10:49am and arrived at 10:58am, but when I checked the ticket it was 10:53am. The clock on the bus was slow which meant I caught the 10:54am by luck.

There was one other person on the bus and arrived at Eltham station at 11:08am. Next was a 13 minute wait at Eltham station for the 11:21am semi express from Clifton Hill to Jolimont. I was actually quite surprised the train trip was 46 minutes. I thought it would have been less. From there I had about a ten minute walk. The total time was about an hour and a half, which is about twice the time it would have taken for me to drive. The good thing is I had no problems with parking and had a good reason for a bit of walking.

The return trip consisted of the ten minute return walk to Southern Cross station. I arrived at 4:39 and the next train was at 4:52pm which arrived on time. I arrived at Eltham station at 5:36pm with the Smartbus scheduled for 5:48pm. The Smartbus arrived on time and reached my bus stop at 6pm, another brisk walk and I was home at 6:08pm. Total return trip was again around an hour and a half.

I found the buses and trains comfortable. There was a disgruntled patron at Eltham station which was a concern, but other than that no real problems.

One thing I did notice was there was only one other person travelling on the bus to Eltham. From Eltham there was also one other person with another person getting on for a short section.

I wanted to test the Smartbus service so I could compare the experience with driving. Given I was driving off-peak, the time to drive would have been somewhere around 30-45 minutes, or about half the time on public transport. With just two passengers the bus probably wasn't any more energy efficient than using the car. For a single fare when compared with driving a car, if you take into account petrol, wear and tear on the vehicle and parking, public transport is reasonable value. However, if there were two of us, it would be much harder to justify public transport.

I've also been fortunate to recently travel overseas. For example in London I found buses and trains more frequent. From the Heathrow area if I travelled into the city of London the cost was about $13, but if I avoided the central area (staying within zones 6-2) I could travel for around $9.40. Had I stayed one zone in (zone 5) it would have cost $7.60 a day. Our ticket costs are thus dearer and the frequency of public transport less often. Other European countries I found were just as good and cheaper again. Melbourne transport has a bit of catching up to do if they are to match other countries.

In the end however we have what we have and overall the experience, cost and time to travel for a single traveller was a good experience.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mobile speed camera locations in Templestowe for August

Courtesy of the Victorian government the following are the locations of mobile speed cameras in Templestowe for August 2010. As stated on the government site "Mobile cameras are installed in unmarked vehicles parked on the side of a road."

High Street, between Rosemary Street and Linton Avenue
Serpells Road, between Church Road and Killibury Court
Reynolds Road, between Hawtin Street and Smiths Road
Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, August 9, 2010

News in the Templestowe area

For those interested in what has been happening around Templestowe the following is a collection of news articles from the web. If you are interested in more easily finding products and services from local businesses
you can use the search feature on the 3106 postcode page. Over 120 local businesses are now included in the local search engine.
If you are someone you know has a business based in Templestowe and wish to be included in the local search engine please contact me.
A BUDGET blowout, teaching disruptions and “mismanagement” are the reasons the $3.25 million federal stimulus project at Templestowe Park Primary School has been an “unmitigated disaster”, the school council president says.

TEMPLESTOWE teenager Linus Couper is facing one of the biggest challenges of his life - a battle with cancer.

JULIAN and Sarah Yule will embark upon a 590km father-daughter bonding experience when they set out on the Great Victorian Bike Ride in November.

PLANS to build a dog activity centre in Templestowe have been scratched.

Marco has a rare condition that causes regular seizures and learning difficulties, but an assistance dog could help keep him safe and happy.

The new high-visibility uniform has been tested by Templestowe posties this year, and has proven to improve safety for postal workers.

"Josh" has found himself at the Halfway Home Animal Rescue in Templestowe after he was plucked from a dog pound two months ago.

YOUNG soccer gun Nicholas Krousoratis has big dreams.

FOR most musicians, playing an instrument outside in the rain might cause concern, but for avant garde composer Ross Bolleter, who performed on a piano at the Heide Museum of Modern Art's sculpture park in Templestowe yesterday, harsh weather conditions are almost welcome.

FOR five years a grieving Templestowe family has maintained a roadside memorial at the spot where their son died in a car crash, hoping it will remind drivers to take care.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Property update: Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Bulleen, Eltham and Eltham North