Saturday, April 19, 2014


My wife was filling in the application form for my son's enrolment into preparatory class next year.

The item after our home address on the form is the Melway's reference number. She remarked: "What age is this? How will I suppose to know what the Melway's number is?" I told her to leave this item blank as I am 100% confident that provision of our street address will be sufficient for the school's needs.

Several years ago, I still relied on Melway for street directions. But nowadays, I simply resort to Google Maps and Public Transport Victoria's Journey Planner to do the planning and to use a GPS when I am driving to my destination. I wonder how many people still purchase Melway and what do they use it mainly for? The paper version is so bulky that you can only leave it on the car and it cannot compete with GPS with regards to convenience and speed of finding street directions. The price of GPS has come down a lot over the years so it is pretty affordable for car owners.

I understand that Melway has released an iPhone version (Ref 1) which I have not looked at. For a map service to be useful today, it has to be integrated with other capabilities such as navigation guide, traffic updates, search for amenities, public transport journey planner, creation of custom maps and itineraries, geolocation, etc. Melway will have a tough time competing against the likes of Google Maps and GPS providers such as Garmin, TomTom, Navman and so on.

It will be interesting to see how Melway can evolve to stay relevant in today's world of rapidly changing technologies.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Please email me my receipt

Just now, I bought an electronic device from the Officeworks branch at Yarraville and was pleasantly surprised to discover they have introduced a very useful customer service.

I was asked for my email address and straight away, a copy of the receipt was sent to my email address. This saves me the trouble of photocopying or scanning the receipt for safekeeping, particularly if the purchased items have warranty cover.

These receipts are printed on thermal paper which will fade. Hence, if you forget to make a copy in permanent ink, you may not be able to prove your purchase for the purpose of warranty claim or returning defective items.

It will be good news if all major retailers offer this type of service.