Why use Google Apps?

We are a Google Apps for Work reseller and have been for several years now. We haveve also used Google Apps in our business for nearly 5 years now. This post is about why you should consider using Google Apps.

Low Ongoing Cost

People are always amazed when I explain to them that we can set up an email solution where the ongoing cost per user can be as low as $5AUD per month. Compared to traditional offerings such as exchange, this is very affordable. We have a varying initial setup cost for Google Apps based on a few different requirements – however it has never exceeded the cost of an exchange server!

You can still use se your own domain

If you’re using an @gmail address or @hotmail address for your business you probably shouldn’t. With domain names currently at such low prices there really is no excuse to not identify your brand in your email.

Sync between Devices

Do you find sometimes if you’ve drafted an email on one devices, or sent/deleted etc on one device the changes don’t sync to your other devices? Using Google apps your changes sync across devices. If you’re using an iPhone, and Android or the website the changes are reflected everywhere so you can be sure that you are seeing up to date information and not be worried about whether you may or may not have already sent something.

Distributed Network

You have the advantage of Google’s own servers hosting your email. In the several years that we’ve sold and supported Google Apps the only outages we’ve ever come across had nothing to do with Google. It was either people had let a domain expire or they had changed settings that should not have been changed. Google have multiple servers all over the world that provide the Google Apps  service.

You aren’t running the risk of that one computer in your office that handles your email suddenly failing when you use Google Apps – it’s all stored in the cloud, so as long as you have the internet – you’ll be able to get your emails.


Google Apps will work on a web browser, iPhone, Android, iPad etc. The major devices as well also now have apps that do specific functions from the Google Apps suite for example the Sheets App for spreadsheets or the Docs app for documents.

File Sharing

If you’re a client of Instant Technology you would be aware that we share all documentation with you after we complete or update any of your equipment. We do this using Google Drive. It is secured by email i.e. if you invite a person to a file or folder they are the only person that can see it. Even though you can restrict access you can also allow some files to be public – you may want to do this if you have a page on a website that uses content from a file to update.

One of the other great things about Google Drive is the ability to work collaboratively.  If you click here you will see a great example of how this can work. Remember as well you’ve got the ability to collaborate with people outside of your business using these tools as well.

Advanced Search & Spam Filtering

One thing I’ve loved demonstrating to people before they jump on board with Google Apps is just how powerful search is. You can search for the contents within an email, you can specify if you want to see things that include attachments or do not, a persons email. If you’re neat and organise things into folders (Google refers to these as “labels”) you can also search within a label very easily. I know some people that have not even bothered to use labels as they find that the search functionality is powerful enough to find them what they need quickly.

Google also monitors your email for any incoming spam messages and appropriately allocates them to a Spam folder. From there you can either mark them as not spam if they were incorrectly tagged – or – you can click delete forever. Google then uses this data to make sure that both yourself and other Google users don’t ever have that email enter your inbox ever again.

Other Common Questions We Get Asked

Can I use aliases?

The short answer is yes. Google have two ways of using aliases, if only one person needs to see that particular email address you can just add that alias to a user.

If you want multiple people to receive that email then you can add a group that has public posting permissions. There is currently no additional charge for alias addresses or group email addresses with Google.

Can I transfer my existing emails to Google?

Yes – however depending on your current service offering this may take some time to transfer the data. Especially in Australia with our poor upload speeds we have had some transfers that have taken several days to fully upload.

I’m currently using hotmail won’t I miss emails being sent there?

No, we ask a lot of questions before we get started with setting up Google Apps, one being who is your current email provider. Nearly all hosts allow you to forward your ongoing emails into your new Google Apps account, so you shouldn’t miss a thing.

Will I Still Have a Calendar?

Yes, and just like sheets and Gmail the changes will sync across your devices as long as you’ve set them up that way. You have the ability to share calendars with your colleagues as well.

Is it secure?

Yes – we recommend that everyone uses two-step authentication with Google Apps (and really with any application that supports two-step you should use it). On top of using two-step authentication Google also have a site called My Account (https://myaccount.google.com/) that can give you data on where someone last signed in, and provide advice on keeping your account more secure.

Remember though security is really in the hands of the user, never share your passwords, never use simple or easy to guess passwords and make sure that you have policies or procedures in place for if someone loses a device or has a device stolen.

How do I get started?

If you are interested in using Google Apps or have any further questions please get in Contact with us so we can discuss your specific requirements. You will need an existing domain name and your login details for it (or we can register one for you if you don’t have one), a list of the email addresses you would like to use if you are brand new to email – or – a list of all of the current email addresses that you currently use.

It is also great if you can let us know what email service you currently use, but if you aren’t sure don’t worry as we can find out easily for you.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Open Drawer/Till Windows 7 / VendHQ Without Printing ANY Receipts

Recently I had to set up a computer to manually open a till drawer without using an installed program and without printing a receipt.

I read several forums and info and finally put together the information to allow me to do this.

One of the  biggest issues I noticed was people trying to send commands via COM ports to USB printers or LPT1 – there is a really simple way to actually fix this up.

In Windows it is actually possible to map LPT1 to a network share with the following command:

net use \\computername\sharename lpt1

Edit (3/4/2014) just realised the above command is wrong correct command below:

net use lpt1: \\computername\printersharename /persistent:yes

So the first step is, share your printer and make sure you know the share name. Find out the name of your computer (CTRL+Pause Break on your keyboard or Right Click Computer and goto Properties)

Once you know the two details the command is as above – net use lpt1: \\computername\printersharename



Once this is done, you can now send plain text print jobs via LPT1 but it will actually send it to your USB connected printer, or realistically any printer that you have set up the mapped connection to.

The next step is to get your till open codes for your printer. There is a comprehensive list of them here.

Once you have the till codes you then need to actually convert them to hexadecimal (hint: if you are using a calculator you need to do each number inidividually then put them together end result will be something like 1b700019fa or similar)

I then used the info from here that explains how to convert the code from hexadecimal to ASCII using Notepad++

Once you save that file, you are ready to send it to your printer and provided you have the correct codes it should open your cash drawer without printing a single line.

To send it to the printer, make a batch file in the same location as your text file that contains the open drawer codes and add this line to it:

Copy /b open.txt lpt1

Call it opendrawer.bat or something similar so you know what it is for. Now you can just double click this to open the drawer. All the above line does is sends the text file that you created earlier as a binary file to port lpt1 – which we conveniently have mapped to our POS printer earlier. When the printer receives this file its response is I got a drawer open code, send those voltrons out the DK port and open up that bad boy (technically it sends a 24V signal to a solenoid in the drawer that makes it open but I think the other description is easier to understand)

I ended up setting this up for a customer because VendHQ can not open the drawer without printing a small line of text (because of the way Vend prints it is practically impossible to support opening a drawer without printing something so don’t hold that against them)

If you want to make the opendrawer.bat file accessible from quick launch there is a trick to, create a shortcut to the batch file, then copy this (ctrl+c) then create a new shortcut (right click create new shortcut anywhere on the desktop) and paste in the location that you just copied. However, before clicking next make sure you add ‘explorer’ to the front of the line:



Click next, name the file what you want and you can now drag it to the quick launch bar (however it will have an explorer icon)

Hope this helps some people out there. Later I will upload my batch file and code file that I created to open the drawer on an Epson TM88V.