An Aussie take on experiencing Hurricane Irma

CanYa’s very own Jake Irvine has been living in Florida, U.S.A, where he recently experienced the force of Hurricane Irma. He has shared his experience. 

Hurricane Irma

This is a little different from our usual CanYa blogs. But, I thought I would share my recent brush with a Stage 5 hurricane. As a born and bred Aussie, up until recently a disaster of this nature was foreign to me.

Although I hadn’t experienced one, hurricanes actually do occur in Australia, we just call them cyclones. Our Asian friends also have their own name, referring to these natural disasters typhoons.

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An accurate early prediction.

Should I stay, or should I go? 

The Governor for Florida called for a mandatory evacuation of certain regions, with the expressed intent of extending that to anyone who also felt unsafe in the coming weather. This included me, who was very happy to get up and get going.

Meanwhile, as the hurricane was due to hit my accommodation on a Saturday night, people continued to work up until Friday evening.

Doomsday prepping

In the lead up to the hurricane, people naturally went a little bit crazy trying to prepare for the worst.

The cue for some fuel stations went on seemingly forever, with some selling out of all non-perishables, water and somewhat unsurprisingly (and to my disappointment), alcohol!

Fuel itself was incredibly hard to find. I spoke to some people who even drove into the countryside to stock up. I saw my fair share of cars pulled over on the side of the road having run out of fuel.

linesofcarss.jpg
The lines went on for hours, bowsers often running out of fuel while people were waiting.

Everything and the bathroom sink

People were tying down bins, covering pools and stocking up like mad. I even heard someone recommend to fill your sinks and bathtub with tap water as a last resort for drinking and flushing waste.

Be safe on the road

On the day I evacuated, the roads were absolutely packed. In the mad rush of leaving, people were driving erratically, trying to get as far away as quickly as possible. I passed half a dozen accidents along the way.

No room at the inn

I had got out of town, survived the crazy roads, and now I needed to find somewhere to stay. My first destination was Atlanta, and finding accommodation turned out to be a lot tougher than I had thought. Some people I spoke to had even booked their accommodation 5+ days in advance, just incase there was extenuating circumstances.

The aftermath

I have now returned to my apartment in Florida. Abandoned vehicles (some badly damaged) sitting on the side of the road seems commonplace. On the radio there have been warnings about looting and crime in the more severely affected areas, thankfully the worst has passed.

Here is what I have learned from this experience

I have at least picked up some tips – which I hope I won’t have to use:

  • Pre-emptively look at accommodation and how you are going to get there.
  • If you have the ability, leave early. The people who can’t leave early will be the ones congesting the roads behind of you.
  • Stock up. Fuel, water non-perishables, candles, torches, batteries, first aid equipment.
  • If you do get caught – seek shelter. Whether it be in your neighbour’s brick house or in an evacuation shelter at a stadium or a larger facility. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Once you are caught – do not risk safety. If that brand new Audi of yours gets swept up into a river, so be it.
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Hurricanes are not to be trifled with.
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How CanYa is totally awesome for clients

Booking a Plumber: Ye Olde way

Oh no, my sink is broken.

Broken sink, time to find a plumber on CanYa

  1. Google “Plumbers Adelaide“.
  2. Spend 10 minutes sifting through websites or Yellow Pages entries to find somebody that looks reputable.
    • ProblemI generally have no idea of their quality, availability, location or prices.
  3. Call up the Plumber to ask if they are available, describe the job and get a price estimate. I’ll probably do 2-3 calls before I find somebody who is available, sounds ok and is a reasonable price.
    • ProblemTime consuming.
  4. The plumber comes around and fixes my sink. Hooray!
  5. The plumber sends an invoice via email or snail mail. I pay via manual bank transfer.
    • ProblemSlow to initiate and slow for funds to actually transfer.
  6. We part ways, probably to never see each other again.
    • Problem: I cannot leave any feedback.
Female client left feeling frustrated because her plumber was less than desirable
Every feel this way when booking a random?

Here’s how this looks in CanYa

 

An infographic that describes the old way to book local service providers and the new way with the CanYa experience

The CanYa app plumber/gasfitter page which shows all of the local service providers

  • I tap the map button to see which ones are close by:

The CanYa App has a map function which shows you were all of the service providers are reference your location

OK Guy Morris is close by and ranked #3. Looking great so far. Let’s take a look at his profile to make sure he’s legit and gain some trust:

Provider profile on CanYa, it shows previous reviews, gives you the ability to in-app message or call him and also to make a job enquiry

Perfect. I scroll down and see he’s available this afternoon.

I have already made my choice.

If I have any questions before booking, I hit the chat button. It’s only been a couple of minutes and I’m sending a job request through to my ideal plumber:

The job enquiry is very simple, just add a job description, with some photos of the issue to get started

Normally I choose any time, but today I have a tight schedule so I give the plumber a time window any time between 11am and 4pm. I can see this will work for him too.

CanYa app gives the option to be very specific about the time requirements of the job and you can check this against the providers availability

I send off the enquiry and a few moments later I receive an SMS letting me know I have a quote!

The first stage of the CanYa job flow is to receive the quote from the local trusted provider that you chose

I confirm the quote. The job is now booked.

Nothing is locked in stone. No money has changed hands yet. We can chat or call, re-quote, re-schedule or cancel the job. Maximum flexibility.

The Plumber arrives & fixes my sink!

Guy finishes up and immediately sends me a finalised invoice (he used some extra materials):

Each job is dynamic and flexibility is the only way to keep it going, CanYa provides the ability to re-quote and add on the extra costs that might come up

I used CanYa Rewards to refer some friends to CanYa. So instead of CanYa having to pay money to advertisers, CanYa gave me some credits! Win-win.

I tap pay now and $54 is immediately taken from my credit card and paid to the plumber.

Guy was awesome, so lets give him a 5 star review:

Peer to peer mutual reviews are important and help build a genuine and trusted community

We are all done!

Wait – I generate a nice looking Tax Invoice for my records.
Now I’m done!

The CanYa invoice is one of the most comprehensive and nice looking invoices you will receive... and it is automatic

How do I start using CanYa today?

Get started with CanYa has never been easier – download Australia’s best way to hire local services today for free!

CanYa, the easiest way to book home services in Australia

 

Meet the CanYa team

By now you know what CanYa is, how you can use it and why it’s the bomb! So how about meeting some of the people who have helped bring CanYa to life.

Hello my name is….

 

CanYa has a strong team behind it; this is Kyle the Chief Operations Officer (COO)

Name: Kyle

Which state do you live in: New South Wales

What do you do at CanYa? I am the Chief of Operations (COO). On top of the standard duties that come with the COO title, I coordinate the various teams (including our blog, Facebook/Social Media teams and customer service teams).

Fun CanYa fact: I have been working with CanYa for over a year, and still haven’t met (face-to-face) many of the people I work with on a daily basis. As a tech company, we are always working together collaboratively in our virtual workplace through various channels (email, FaceTime, WhatsApp etc). I see this as a huge testament to the people behind CanYa, as we’re all striving together for the same thing (the best app for our customers), from all corners of Australia.

 

CanYa has a huge marketing team that is headed up by Chris

Name: Chris

Which state do you live in: New South Wales

What do you do at CanYa? Chief Marketing Officer. I head up our awesome marketing team to help as many people find out about CanYa. I’m also responsible for the strategic guidance of our national marketing strategy.

Fun CanYa story: I absolutely love that we have have a crocodile handler in Darwin. It’s so Australian – which is what CanYa is all about. We love that we can connect providers of all shapes, sizes and expertise to their customers.

 

 

Steve helps us with all our technical needs. He is part of the CanYa tech team

Name: Steve

Where in the world are you from? The Nation’s Capital (ACT)

What do you do at CanYa? I manage the CanYa website and all technical things related to our web presence. I also like to give my 5 cents worth on our strategy (whether wanted or not!).

Fun CanYa story: This may sound biased, but every time someone I know uses they app, they say something along the lines of: ‘Dude – this is awesome. How come you guys didn’t come up with this sooner?’ Which I have to say is a pretty great reaction!

Steph is CanYa's online content and social media manager. She helps us create the face of the company

Name: Steph

Which state do you live in: The Wild-Wild West (Western Australia).

What do you do at CanYa? I work on our Instagram account (if you’re a provider reading this feel free send me message with pictures of your completed tasks for a feature!). I also coordinate our ‘Provider of the week’ program, which highlights our awesome providers.

 

Jake is our customer service agent that you will have the pleasure of dealing with if you contact CanYa Support.

Name: Jake

What state do you live in? South Australia (currently in Florida).

What do you do at CanYa? I am CanYa’s Regional Manager. I’m in charge of coming up with ideas, managing events (i.e. our Adelaide launch party – woo! ), and promoting the app in Adelaide.

How do you the CanYa app? Lucky for me, CanYa has launched and is now well established in Adelaide. I have used the app to book cleaners, photographers and even managed to arrange for my computer to be fixed on a Sunday (which would otherwise be virtually impossible!).

Fun CanYa story: I always have a great experience meeting our providers, but one particular experience stands out for me. As part of our Adelaide launch, we invited our first signed up providers to come along to our launch party. I met Matt, a recently migrated man from Iran, who had signed up to CanYa within the first few weeks of arriving in Australia. Since then, he had been booked for a handful of jobs. I think this is a perfect example of how CanYa can help an individual with a skill find work independently.

Thanks for being part of the CanYa community!

If you aren’t onboard yet, download CanYa – Australia’s best way to hire local service providers.

CanYa is available on iOS and Android, it is the easiest way to hire local service providers near you

How CanYa is super excellent for service providers

Out with the Old School….

Tradies – Tutors – Babysitters – Cleaners – Gardeners – Handymen of the world.

The pain is over!

Here is how a home service providers used to get work and do jobs:

Discovery

  • Pay for Google AdWords, Yellow Pages, website hosting fees
  • Expensive lead-fees from other home-improvement apps (average subscription cost is $300/year plus pay-per-quote fees!), often with nothing to show for it.

Problems: Nobody knows how great you are. You do quality work and want to be paid your normal rate. Other job apps make you compete with other providers in a race to the bottom. Advertising yourself is expensive and time consuming.

CanYa makes looking for work really easy. Search in Darwin, Adelaide or Melbourne and you will find CanYa is the best way for more work

Quoting

  • You receive phone calls whilst working,
  • Quoting is guess work based on a phone call; not enough information to give accurate quotes. The alternative is time out to organise a house visit.

Problems: Quoting wastes a lot of time you could be working. You waste a lot of time quoting people who don’t want to pay your fair prices or who cannot schedule a mutual time.

Invoicing

  • You spend evenings invoicing with Xero or MYOB.
  • Chasing up payments is a pain.
  • Quarterly GST figures. Ugh, get a calculator, notepad & pen.
CanYa makes invoicing and GST BAS statements really easy. Enhance.
Invoicing… somebody automate it PLEASE!

CanYa to the rescue

So we all know that the old process is fragmenteddisjointed and overall, just broken! Welcome to the 21st century!

The old job booking process is broken and expensive. The new CanYa experience is easy, clean and intuitive

Creating a CanYa Profile:

OK let’s dive straight in. Creating a profile is super easy; and FREE:

Creating a provider profile with CanYa is free

You can add your qualifications, prices (callout, fixed-rate, hourly rate), photo’s and more.

You can add multiple categories, with unique descriptions and images in each category! Set which categories you want to quote, and which can be instant-book. For big jobs, optionally set a 20% cancellation fee if the client cancels within a specified window.

Let’s set availability:

Setting your availability with CanYa allows you to indicated when you want to work. You will not be bothered outside of these times

And blank out next Tue-Thu when on another job:

The CanYa Calendar is a free tool to sort out your local business.

Now sit back and wait for job requests… 🍹

I get an SMS from CanYa: “New Quote Request”.
Awesome.
Somebody has already read my profile, prices and availability.
This won’t be a time waster:

The CanYa Job requests has all the information that you would require to quote on a job

Excellent – that’s everything I need to to give an accurate quote.

Quoting is free with CanYa; very easy to get all the information you need and to quote on the spot.

Excellent: the client accepted. I can use the calendar and in-built map with driving directions to find my way.

Finding your way to the job is usually difficult, just use CanYa's in-built driving directions to the job

If I need to talk to the client, I use the in-built messaging or calling:

In-app messaging is simple with CanYa because it is all integrated into the job, no lost information.

 

⛏️ I do the job  ⛏️

The job is done, now immediately send the client an invoice to pay:

Invoicing is easy with CanYa because it is automated and mutually agreed.

The client pays me on the spot, and CanYa immediately credits my balance.
After the card payment has cleared, I can transfer it directly to my bank.

CanYa Account shows you all of your transactions and allows you to be paid with the tap of a button.

CanYa deducts a transactional fee for its services, only if the job is completed and you are paid. Everything else in the platform is completely free!

And at the end of the Quarter, CanYa provides a breakdown of what to write on the Quarterly BAS:

gst.png

It’s insanely easy, flexible and very low transaction fees. You have literally nothing to lose by downloading CanYa, creating a profile and waiting for bookings.

Download Australia’s best way to hire local service providers today, register and create a free profile !!

CanYa is available on iOS and Android, it is the easiest way to hire local service providers near you

Don’t be left in the dark ever again!

South Australia’s 2016 Power Outage

For those that aren’t aware or don’t remember, in 2016 there was a statewide power outage in South Australia! It was well documented while it was happening and the preliminary findings were explained in detail. Here are the high points:

  • Big ass 50-year storm knocks out 22 power poles
  • Power transient knocks trips “safety switch” between VIC and SA
  • Renewable power couldn’t help as they were shut down due to unsafe wind speeds
  • 1.67M residents without power
South Australia left in the dark after a statewide power outage. If only a CanYa provider had installed a backup generator
South Australia left in the dark (Source: Twitter / Weather WA)

The government’s longterm plans?

The SA government has been left with egg on it’s face after an embarrassing statewide electrical blackout; so what is there to do? You take up a billionaire’s offer to fix it for you in 100 days or it is free!

Elon Musk takes to twitter to get the SA government's attention.
If anybody can fix SA’s power problems, it is Elon!

It has been confirmed that Elon Musk (well Tesla, actually) will be fixing SA’s power issues in 100 days or less! This will include the world’s biggest battery to capture all of the renewable energy that the state is producing. The “100 days or less” hasn’t started yet and will only start after the contract is signed off by the government.

How do you protect your family from a black-out in the meantime?

Your short-term plans?

It has been shown that a full power outage is inevitable. The only way that you can ensure that your family is protected is to take matters into your own hands! So what is the best solution? You should start by looking at a home generator backup system.

Portable home generator that can be installed by a CanYa Electrician
A portable home generator like this will save you!

These versatile generator systems are perfect to have in your garage! You can use them on camping trips, take them to family BBQs at the park and best of all, use them when the state’s power grid is down!

You can either have the system directly supply power to selected appliances or get a local electrician to install a power supply bypass switch so you can power your entire house from your generator.

Portable generator supply system at home. CanYa provides local electricians to do this for your family
You will have the ability to draw power from the grid OR your generator

Wouldn’t it be expensive to install?

Soames Electrical to the rescue

Hiring a local electrician is a daunting task! You don’t want to be ripped off but at the same time you want an electrician that you can trust. Soames Elec are CanYa’s Provider of the Week because of their rapid response to South Australia’s electrical crisis.

Soames Elec is CanYa's Provider of the Week. Trusted local electricians are hard to find in South Australia, CanYa makes it easy.

One look at Soames Elec’s Facebook Page will show you their commitment to cheap, reliable and safe installation of home generator backup systems:

CanYa is Australia's best way to hire local electricians.
Source: Facebook / Soames Elec.

Protect your family today by getting Soames Elec to install a backup power supply at your house! You can get free quotes and manage the entire process from the one app by downloading Australia’s easiest way to book electricians for free!

Other options?

Another more permanent option is to follow the government’s advice and turn to Tesla! Whilst you will not be buying the world’s largest battery, you will be buying a Tesla Power Wall.

The Tesla Powerwall is another option to protect your home from a black-out

If you want to read a local success story where a Tesla Powerwall saved a South Australian family during the statewide black-out, have a look at this article.

The Tesla Powerwall saved a South Australian family during the 2016 statewide black-out
Green is good, red is bad.

I nearly blew up my car engine!

Phew – nearly blew up my car engine

It was a hot and humid afternoon in January 2017 when I came home and my neighbour approached me from across the road. He proceed to tell me that he had been trying to call me because he had noticed a huge oil stain on my driveway. Dismayed and little stressed I looked over to where he was pointing to see the oil slick. My heart immediately started beating faster.

Oh no!

Tools, oily rag on the ground and a puddle of car engine oil are sure signs that it is time to get a CanYa mechanic
Tools, oil & a dirty rag… sure signs it is time to get a mechanic

Ticking time-bomb

My wife was driving the Prado that day, as she does most days, and she has been known to be very, very casual about car maintenance. I can recall two times in the last two months when she has run the battery flat.

This usually occurs during the wet season in Darwin when the lights are typically left on during the day when it’s raining so heavily that you need them on for safety. Unfortunately for me, I usually get the job of rescuing my wife on these occasions. In this instance however, the consequence of driving the car without any oil could be a very dangerous and/or expensive outcome!

Flat batteries require help with little of no notice, turn to CanYa Providers for swift attention
Twice… really?!

Immediately I tried to call my wife and she didn’t answer which was unusual. She is the kind of woman who does a lot of calling and texting on her phone for work. So I’m always surprised when I try to call her and she doesn’t answer.

I start doing the calculations – $10,000 – that’s probably what a new engine is going to cost me.

Please answer your phone 🙏🏽

After several unanswered phone calls I finally got through to my wife; she was driving and I told her to pull over. I quickly explained the consequence of continued driving and she told me she would pull over to wait for me.

After several minutes of her not returning my phone calls again I started to get worried. She was still driving! Apparently she did not understand the possible consequence that I had tried to explain in my previous conversation. I explained it again and insisted that she pulled over. Again she agreed to do what I asked of her and I asked her to call me once she had pulled over.

Finally she pulled over and I instructed her to check the oil level over the phone. Didn’t seem to be bone dry – lucky! She was only a couple of minutes from our house so I instructed her to drive straight home.

Checking your engine oil is important, especially if you don't want to have to replace it!
Check your oil frequently to avoid having to replace your entire engine!

So what now?

Once at home I investigated thoroughly what the cause of the issue was. With the assistance of one of my wife’s brothers (who happens to be very mechanically minded) I was able to diagnose the problem as a rear differential oil leak. Not as bad as an engine oil leak, but the car was going to be useless to me until fixed. And for the best outcome, should not be driven anywhere I decided! Tow service. Ouch – nope I knew there was a better option thanks to CanYa.

So what did I do? I got straight onto CanYa and contacted a mobile mechanic.

CanYa on iPhone iOS gives you the option to get immediate help front trusted providers
Get help today with CanYa

The gentleman I contacted did the majority of his mechanical work for the backpacker rented vans around Darwin – so I knew he was going to be good. I seem to see those vans breaking down everywhere.

He came over on Saturday and fixed the car for $140 which included parts and consumables. I was genuinely impressed with how quickly the job was done and the guy was great – 5 star rating from me.

5 star reviews is how you know you are getting the best providers in your area

How secure are online payments?

It’s great. Totally secure. Just great.

Well that was a short blog post! Thanks Donald. But let’s take a look a bit deeper.

All connections to and from CanYa devices & services are secure, encrypted communications. This not only helps ensure the integrity of our servers and code, but to protect your personal information when in transit.

CanYa will secure your data so that you are safe from external threat
Get secure with CanYa

How easy is it to see unencrypted comms?

You see, anybody can fire up Wireshark and listen in on communications on their network. If there are any plain text comms, we see something like this:

Unencrypted text can easily be seen and you data could be stolen; it is important to protect your information!
Creepy, right?!

Now let’s take a look at what happens when we use encryption:

Encryption is important to protect you data whilst in transit, CanYa provides this security as a base standard.
Good luck hackers, CanYa makes it very difficult to get your data

So that is all we need right?

Sort of.

Firstly, security is an evolving beast. Researchers periodically find theoretical and practical attacks to defeat encryption methods. For example if the method to generate random numbers used in encryption is found to be able to be reverse-engineered, they come up with a better way of producing random numbers. The agency largely responsible for these standards is NIST – a US government standards agency. The reputation of NIST was damaged with Edward Snowden NSA leaks which showed the NSA introduced weakened encryption standards.

The internet as a computer guy spinning a globe; CanYa makes sure he is harnessed for you.
The internet is ever-changing, don’t get caught out!

The capabilities of nation states to decrypt communications is largely unknown, but assumed to be possible but with a degree of difficulty. Simply put, crooks cannot decrypt your data, but large governments probably can. In practice though, nation states do not care about your bank password (which they control through government regulation anyway), or could probably easier just get your data through a warrant.

How do you secure online data?

The latest spec used for web encryption is Transport Layer Security (TLS) v1.2. People often refer to this as “SSL” which was the name of the older spec (now considered insecure). The phrase “SSL” now just generally means “encrypted“. You will often see an address bar padlock(padlock.png) to show your data is encrypted in transit with SSL/TLS.

When a secure connection is established between two devices, they need to “handshake” and transfer some keys between each other (“key exchange“). This means encryption is sometimes a little slower to establish a connection (maybe 10-100ms), but overall well worth it. The TLS v1.3 draft spec. is already implemented in the next Apple iOS11 release which performs key exchange during the initial TCP handshake thus improving connection speeds significantly.

My favourite webcomic on encryption is from XKCD.com:

security.png

Is CanYa safe?

So an important part of any security implementation is containing the keys. At CanYa, we have a robust security policy that includes need-to-know, locked down privileges and the use of 2-factor authentication for all system access logins — this defeats the $5 wrench because a login becomes both something you own (physical) plus something you know (mental) which is harder to defeat.

Locked padlock on a smartphone app is representative of CanYa's security with data

Now comes the good part – your data. The good news is – we don’t even store any of your secure data! So even if the $5 wrench works, your bank & credit-card are safe. We use a third party payment service called PIN Payments. This is a great Australian company that does all of the extra credit-card & financial compliance requirements, and gives us an interface to work with.

Pin Payments is an online payment service that is used by CanYa to protect all of your important financial data

 

For example when you add a credit-card into CanYa:

  1. We send this to PIN over an encrypted connection.
  2. PIN store your card (encrypted at rest).
  3. We keep the last 4 numbers only for display purposes and dump the rest immediately.
  4. CanYa get back a de-identified anonymous token (e.g. “ABC123”). We then use this token to ask PIN to do things like “Please debit $50 from card ABC123 into our account”, or “Please pay XYZ123 $50 from our account”. That is it.

Totally safe. Really secure. Great.