For those in Perth always looking for a better, faster, cheaper way

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Google Play gift cards CAN pay for your Google One subscription

 If you are like me, I've always wondered whether the Google Play gift cards that you see in the shops can be used for Google subscriptions such as Google One. Coles is currently giving 2000 points to any purchase of $50 Google Play gift cards. This means that you can save up to 20% on all your Google play purchases including your Google One subscriptions. If you bought the $50 gift card, the 100GB annual subscription with Google one goes from $25/year to $20/year for two years. Here's a screenshot of the Google play credit being applied to my google one account. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Things You Should Know about Google Meet

Google Meet went live in Australia yesterday without much fanfare as Google's answer to Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Webex with a free chat that emulates the best features of these other video conferencing platforms. Until the end of September, you can use Google Meet for video conferences of
  • Up to 100 people 
  • Time is not limited 
  • As many meetings as you like 
To initiate a Google Meet meeting, you will need to 
  • Download the Google Meet app from the Google Play store 
  • Accept the permissions that Google Meet will need to run video conferencing 
  • Click on +New Meeting in the Google Meet app OR 
    • Create a new Google Calendar entry, click on Add Videoconferencing, Add another participant that you want to meet, choose the time and date for the meeting and when you close the entry, choose to Send the invite to the other participant. If they do not have Google meet installed, when they click on the Join Meeting link, it will prompt them to install Google Meet in Google Play. Interestingly, if you send someone a calendar invitation, it appears in their Google Calendar without them realising it. Could this be used to spam people's calendar? 
Google Meet has a few features that makes it a worthwhile replacement for other video conferencing tools on the market
  • Subtitles for the meeting can be turned on and appear in a visually appealing format on the computer, showing the person's Google ID face and then the words being said 
  • Participants can be arranged in the Zoom tile format or the MS Teams spotlight format where people appear when they speak. You can also pin people to the screen so that you always see them, even when they don't speak. 
  • When people are participating using their phone, their video will cut off when they switch their screen to another app, so other participants know that they are no longer seeing them, but they will still be able to hear and speak in the meeting. 
  • Even when you are using Google Meet on your phone, you can present your mobile phone screen to talk participants through what is on your screen and they can zoom in on your phone's screen while you are presenting if the screen is too small. 
  • Also it is apparently more secure than Zoom and less to set up and install for MS Teams which requires quite a few steps to add people to a team, then to a channel etc. 
Will Google extend this beyond September? If not, it will only remain free for those that are Google Suite subscribers but this will prove to be increasingly used over the coming weeks and may make a compelling means to bring more people into the Google ecosystem and remain free for that reason.

Monday, March 9, 2020

4 Tips When Claiming on Car Insurance

Recently, we had to make a claim with RAC for damage to a vehicle. It was an interesting experience and one which we learnt a few lessons..

1. Do your homework. Don't assume insurer will put you through to the best repairer
2. Some insurance companies no longer automatically process claims immediately (call back later)
3. Personal items in a car can hardly be considered "covered" when the limits and excess are almost the same.
4. Windscreen excess is probably worth paying for ($100 with RAC) as opposed to windscreen cover

When we called up, it was late at night and they said you need to call back in the morning to put in the claim. The alternative was to get the window fixed, pay for the repair and get it reimbursed from RAC. We chose the latter but leaving the window like that was probably not a good option as the crack worsened overnight.

When we called RAC in the morning, they said that company X would be in contact within two hours to repair the window. I did some quick googling and got worried, because the reviews were not good at all, with some waiting a few days for the repair and some having issues with the rubber seals falling out etc. Last time we had to make a similar claim, they immediately put O'Briens on to the job, but not this time. I suspected RAC was using this company because it was cheaper and it seemed to go with my other suspicions that RAC was on a big costcutting exercise in every area. I already decided that I would probably go to another insurer when my renewal is up. Nevertheless, I gave them a call and asked if they can put me on to Obriens and they said they will switch it for me. No credit to them because clearly most people would not question it, RAC would save a few bucks going with the cheaper option. Later, speaking to someone that is familiar with the industry, they said that RAC has switched because it was cheaper to go with X. Something to keep in mind the next time you make a claim.

Also regarding personal items in the car, they only cover up to $500 worth of personal items in the car. If your excess is $500 for example, and you can only claim up to $500 worth.. it is probably not worth claiming and having your insurance premium increase the next time you renew.

Windscreen excess - One thing that RAC has is a different excess for window claims. This is $100 on our policy which you only pay when you claim for damage to a window. When the cost is about $500 to repair a car window, plus the tinting, it's probably worth going for an insurer that provides windscreen excess.

Windscreen cover - The alternative is paying for windscreen cover. Another insurance provider charges about $75 extra for windscreen cover. This means that if your window is damaged during the period of cover, then you don't pay excess. But like all insurance, if your window doesn't break during your cover, you paid $75 for nothing.