Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MyAnswers: Office365/Office 365 gets the thumbs down.

The following MyAnswers solution 2155 is now available:

Office365/Office 365 gets the thumbs down.

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

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge

School council member Lisa van Gelderen

TEMPLESTOWE Park Primary School students enjoy their new play space, custom designed for prep children... Read More

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

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Easy low cost photo books

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Girl crashed her bike and that somehow the brake lever pierced her upper left leg at Candlebark Park Templestowe

Advanced life support paramedics and a single responder intensive care paramedic were called to Candlebark Park at about midday.... Read More

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

Software backup programs for Windows 7, Vista and XP.

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

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

Here is what I wanted:


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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Why installing solar panels may not be a good investment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Installing solar panels just doesn't make sense.


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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can see a number of possible uses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge


Senses Templestowe

The local shops at Templestowe have certainly changed. When we first moved a little over 20 years ago I remember there was a small supermarket near where this now the pedestrian crossing. I can’t remember the name. The supermarket was replaced with Sammy’s which was an Italian restaurant and we had some good nights there over the years with friends.

A few years ago Sammy completely refurbished the restaurant. More recently Sammy’s has been replaced with the Senses restaurant.

Templestowe Village is certainly known for its restaurants. I do miss the variety or stores which were present when we first moved into the area, but like life, everything changes over time.

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

Templestowe Park Primary School site links to American dictionary site

When I see a local primary school linking to an American based dictionary site dictionary.com it concerns me. I’m passionate about the Australian English language and in particular the preferred Australian English spelling. I found for many years I was confused with the spelling of many words but I didn’t know why. I’ve been fortunate as I now understand more about the language and the evolution of our language. I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching the preferred Australian English spelling. To see a local school link to an American resource is a real concern and disappoints me as it can make it harder for young students.

If you look up the word curb you’ll find the meaning of the word which is not the meaning in Australia. I could go through many examples but using a reference which is primarily aimed at an American market to me shouldn’t be on an Australian’s schools web site.

I know teachers are skilled professionals and have their beliefs in the best way to teach young people. For me having access to Word Check, a product I created, which gives me the preferred Australian English spelling of a word, is a tool which could assist anyone wanting to check if they are using the preferred Australian English spelling and check the meaning against a UK based authoritative resource.

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

Monday, August 22, 2011

Melissa Cakes Templestowe Lower for Sale


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

Helen Sadler and her mother, Mary Sadler, are helping historian Robin Drooglever

TEMPLESTOWE’S Helen Sadler and her centenarian mother Mary Sadler are helping Bulleen historian Robin Drooglever to write a book about Australia’s involvement in the Boer War.... Read More

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

Thomas Saunders will play for Victoria in October

FIELD hockey trophies are not in short supply at Tom Saunders’ house.... Read More

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Critical alert: Telephone call from scammer purporting to be from Service of Windows Operations James Stevenson. Issue: Illegal copy of Windows.

Only moments ago I received a call from a person called James Steveson who said they were from Service of Windows Operations a section of Microsoft. He informed me  they had detected an illegal copy of Windows on my computers. He wanted me to go on my computer. My computers are legitimately licensed so I knew immediately the caller was a scammer.

I asked for his telephone number so I could call him back. He provided an address of 75 Ressdale Street but I was not able to obtain any further information and I’d be certain this information isn’t legitimate. By asking for the a number to call them back on this would provide an ability to trace the caller. The caller knows this so hung up.

I reported the information to Optus (my telephone service provider) but it requires three calls for them to take action. There does not appear to be anything in place to protect consumers so each consumer has to effectively look after their own interests.

In this case the caller appeared to be using the telephone directory information to contact me.

Should you receive any unsolicited call from overseas letting you know you have a problem on your computer it is almost certainly a scammer.

Please take care.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problems.

Local businesses need to start thinking of their customers as potential suppliers

When people ask me about JustLocal and what I’m doing, I have a couple of examples I share to highlight the issues I’ve found and if people start to think about them I’d like to change the situation a little.

I ask people do you refer others to businesses you’ve used and the answer is more often yes.

I then ask these questions.

Do you shop at the local businesses?

The answer is always yes.

Do they know you at the local businesses?

The answer is often yes.

Has a local business asked what you do?

The answer is always no.

Has a local business given you any business?

The answer is always no.

Why do I ask these questions. The reasons is simple. This is the same experience I’ve had. I regularly refer people to businesses I’ve used. I use the businesses regularly and say hello to the business owners. They never ask what I do and it has been 15 years since a local business that I purchase products and services from has given me any business.

Local businesses I have no doubt add valuable services and facilities to the community. But if the only purpose of a local business is to profit from the locals and then spend their profits elsewhere, what they are really doing long term is damaging the local community and not making it stronger. As people realise local businesses by their actions are only there to profit off the local community, the loyalty of locals will, if it hasn’t already, disappear, and people will see the best action for themselves is to look after themselves. Why not, everyone else appears to be.

To me this is a sad outcome. As a business I look at my customers as my potential suppliers. If I can pass on work or referrals to my customers and I believe it is appropriate and ethical to do so, then I’m happy to help those who help me.

To all local businesses I ask you to start asking your customers what they do and if they can provide a product or service you need then take a chance. Get a local to provide the product or service and if that local is one of your customers even better. You’ll not only help strengthen the local community but you’ll also build loyalty.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dominic Chambers

Templestowe’s Dominic Chambers who was Australian Junior Magic Champion last year... Read More

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Doncaster Shoppingtown area computer repairs

If you live near Doncaster Shoppingtown and you are after someone to help you with your computer or computer related problem, then consider calling Online Connections. Online Connections is local (based in Templestowe) so you get friendly local service and best of all, there’s no call out fee.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problems.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Living Room Templestowe (Templestowe Living Room)

Sometimes I think I’m not the best person to do a review of a restaurant, but then again I think those getting paid or free meals to do a review probably won’t do much better.

Over the years I’ve dined a number of times at the Templestowe Living Room. The latest was a coffee for a business meeting. I’ve met with groups, had meals with neighbours at the Living Room. Overall the experience has been fairly good. My worst experience was when as group of neighbours we went there for dinner. On that occasion I was waiting for my meal as I was socialising with the group. As it turned out no one had asked for my order and I’d assumed my wife had placed the order for me. I thought, things happen. They quickly put together a bowl of rather tasteless pasta and I don’t really think for the quality it was worth the cost.

It is easy to become tarnished by one bad experience which is why I perhaps think I’m not a good reviewer. Would I give them another go? That answer is yes. We all make mistakes and part of that mistake was mine. Perhaps the waitress should have made sure the number of meals equalled the number present and if not, made sure someone was ordering. Perhaps putting together a rushed meal that was fairly tasteless wasn’t the best way to handle things. Perhaps I should have been paying more attention.

The LivingRoom is a pleasant restaurant in Templestowe and generally I haven’t been disappointed with the quality of the meal or the service.

Kelvin Eldridge

Parking fines at Templestowe Village

I was walking through the rear of the shops at Templestowe Village and noticed the vehicle detection technology was now installed behind the shops and not just in front of the shops. Initially the test area at the front of the shops had a very restrictive 15 minute parking limit which was later increased to 30 minutes. Those who don’t live in the area may not realise the detection technology has been installed so if you have friends visit or meet you at a restaurant you should let them know.

Parking fines at Templestowe Village increased from $24,120 in 2009-10 to $72,420 in 2009-10 after vehicle detection technology was installed there in February last year.... Read More

At around $60 a fine this would equate to around 1,200 parking tickets.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Veronika Drago

Perhaps surprisingly, Drago doesn’t come from a political family. She was born and raised in Templestowe, the daughter of a construction professional.... Read More

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Melissa Templestowe (Melissa Cakes). How the place has changed over time.

We were talking recently about how I helped Nick at Barnacle Bills. I met Nick initially as the owner of the Templestowe Milk Bar. Nick was the only local business owner that asked what I did and as a result ended up asking me to do some work for him. That was  14 years ago. I’m always amazed at how the local businesses never ask what we do and look for ways to use the services of their customers’ businesses. One of the aims of JustLocal is to encourage local businesses to think about using the products and services of their customers first before looking elsewhere. My policy is to use the services of customers as a first preference and then look further afield. But I digress. What has this to do with Melissa you might ask.

When we first moved to the area Melissa Cakes was a Barnacle Bill’s franchise. I didn’t know the initial owners but Nick purchased Barnacle Bill’s franchise. Later he converted the business to a La Porchetta franchise. I still have a copy of the menu I did for Nick in 1997. A glass of Coca Cola and a cappuccino were both $1.20 each. Pizzas came in three sizes which were small medium and large. A large pizza today would probably have been around the same size as the medium and cost at little over $5.

The business subsequently changed hands and Melissa Cakes is now the current business.

How things change over time.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, August 8, 2011

JustLocal search engines now cover surrounding postcodes

In order to make the JustLocal search engines for the postcodes covering Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Bulleen, Warrandyte, Eltham, Lower Plenty and Montmorency of great use to locals, the search engine for the postcode now includes businesses in the adjoining postcode areas.

What this means is those in Templestowe can now search from over 900 businesses making it easier to find products and services in Templestowe or the surrounding area.

It was felt the number of businesses we have been able to identify as having web sites in the area would not provide enough variety in the results returned for the search to be really useful. In addition we were asking people in an area to search up to seven different search engines and logically that will simply not happen.

Let us know how you go with the new approach.

Kelvin Eldridge

Art student Meri Hietala has created a trio of indigenous sculptures

Carver Leigh Conkie works on a 4m eagle and native flora carved from a huge stump in Templestowe... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Manningham parking fines double

Mr Molan said the main area where people were fined was around Manningham’s 45 primary and secondary schools at drop off and pick up times. ... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Panic Pizza menu The Pines, Doncaster East

UPDATE: Click on the following link for the Panic Pizza Menu.

Panic Pizza make good affordable pizzas but I really do wish they’d put their menu online. I’ve put a number of pizza businesses online as it can be done for very little money and the number of people who get value from the online menu would make it more than worth their while.

If you think Panic Pizza should have their menu available online perhaps drop a hint next time you’re there. They’ll only know if we let them know and it could help them and us.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, August 5, 2011

Erosion fears partially close Templestowe street near the intersection of Milne and Porter streets

A SECTION of Porter St, Templestowe, will be partially closed for about four months because of erosion worries.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Manningham's property price drop

Real Estate Institute of Victoria annual figures show a downward trend in all of Manningham’s suburbs that recorded enough sales to provide accurate data.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Phil Krakouer told the Weekly last week from his Templestowe home

The story of Western Australia's famous indigenous Australian brothers Jim and Phil Krakouer, who stormed the world of Aussie rules in the early 1980s, is about to play out at the Frankston Arts Centre.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, August 1, 2011

Computer repair Templestowe - Beware of telephone scammers

I read this article where people are receiving calls from people offering unsolicited computer support over the telephone and another article where one in twenty New Zealanders are falling for the same scam at around a cost of $200 each.

The scam involves a cold telephone call from a computer company who claim to be offering to clean up one’s computer. The name of the company was so complicated that I didn’t catch who they were.... Read More

When I read this it amazes me. There is really no reason for anyone to deal with any computer support person over the telephone. We offer businesses and residents of Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Lower Plenty, Montmorency and Eltham onsite computer support with no call out fee and a money back guarantee. There is no need for remote support and for people to provide others access to their computer. You meet the person who will fix your computer.

Dealing with a person unknown is always a bit of a concern, but to deal with someone who rings out of the blue, who you’ve never met, have no idea of the business or even if they’re from the business they say they are is simply a disaster waiting to happen. I feel really sorry for the people who fall for these scam artists when all they really need to do is to find someone local they can trust.

If someone rings you from out of the blue your scam radar should be working overtime. The only reason someone will ring you is to profit from you. So look after your own interests. They are certainly looking after theirs.

Please take care when receiving any unsolicited telephone call or unsolicited email offering your computer support services.

- Kelvin Eldridge