Changing Chromebox Modes – What I’ve learned

Recently at work we were discussing using Google Meet devices because of the ease of use and ability to basically make a room a resource instead of really being tied to a laptop – but then realised that the specialised hardware for Google Meet is actually rather expensive.

Instead of spending $2000-$4000AUD on hardware to find out if the experience would be worthwhile, first I tried ChromeOS flex on a Macmini and was unable to convert it to a meetbox. I then looked to the second hand market to see if anyone had Chromeboxes for sale as I’d read that there was an ability to convert them into “Meet” mode upon setup – sure enough there was a few around.

The first I purchased of Facebook Marketplace, an ASUS CN60. It was only $50 so I thought why not here is an opportunity to learn. I’ll outline below some of the things that I came up against


Caveat emptor with anything second hand, once I got the device home I used the Chromebook Recovery Utility to create an image file, and reimaged the device – once this was done I ran through the setup

It eventually gets to a “determining device enrolment” and then says “this chromebook is registered to domainx setting up” or something along those lines. I thought the full flash should of sorted that out, but turns out I was wrong. At this point, I thought it may be easier to get another device, so I found one on Ebay and ordered in the meantime $68.75AUD delivered.

Whilst there is ways around this by way of flashing the bios they were long winded and required specialised hardware that I didn’t have on hand. So I ended up being able to track down the domain owner using some OSINT and they kindly “deprovisioned” the device – without this it was practically useless to me, powerwashing didn’t work, nor did a factory reset. Once they deprovisioned though, the device went into wipe mode and I was free to use the device as if I owned it.


From factory (or at least I’m told from Factory) the devices are either set in “user” mode or “meet” mode. User mode is basically like a chromebook, you login and you get a webbrowser and ChromeOS. Meet mode, you lode straight into Google Meet application where you just enter a meet code or press a button to join any meetings from a main screen.


If like me you went searching about these devices you would of seen a bunch of information about “once you are at the setup screen just press Ctrl +Alt + H to convert to Meet/Hangout mode” – seems simple enough, however after a certain version of ChromeOS google removed this option.

So down the next Rabbit Hole I went, how do we convert this device into a meetbox? The keyboard shortcuts didn’t work. I could get into developer mode, but then could never get a terminal to issue any of the commands required. So here is what I ended up doing


If the instructions below don’t work you may need to reimage first, and then put the device into developer mode

1. Boot the Chromebox into Recovery mode: put a paper clip or similar into the reset button, and boot the device. You will see a message about having to insert a USB with ChromeOS, don’t worry about that

2. Press ctrl + d – you will then get a message about OS Verification being off and that to proceed, press the reset button again – do that

3. You will be back at a screen saying “OS Verification Off” – press ctrl + d again and you should then finally be booted into developer mode

Now – if you’re lucky you should be able to press ctrl + alt + F2 and get dumped straight into a terminal, but if you’re not lucky….

1. On the Welcome screen click on “Enable Debugging Features”

2. Click on “Proceed

Note upon reboot if you get the OS Verification screen again, just press ctrl+d and it will boot past it into developer mode

3. Click “Enable Debugging Features” again (yes again…)

4. Set a root password and click on “Enable” this one is important make sure you know EXACTLY what it is

5. Good new you can now SSH into your chromebox, so make sure you find its IP address (this can be done by clicking any of the connections, or clicking the bottom right and going to wifi and creating a connection

6. Use another computer to SSH into the device you need to enter the command like this ssh root@IPADDRESS-OF-CHROMEBOX e.g. ssh root@ and then press enter – you need to enter your password and then press enter again. Provided you entered the information correctly you should see this:

Congratulations we can now issue commands in the shell and we have root access


Shout out to this youtube channel for outlining these and to this reddit post for explaining what the original value that was changed was

Device is in Meet / Hangout Mode and you want Normal mode

First of all issue the command below

localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -l

It will produce an output and should have a line that says


We’ll rewrite that using this command

localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -s “oem_device_requisition”=“none”

If you want to make sure it worked, rerun localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -l and ensure the the line has updated

If it did, type sudo reboot and press enter, once the device reboots you should be back to normal mode

Device is in Normal Mode and you want Meet Mode

This was exactly what I was trying to do.

localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -l

Check and see if there is an “oem_device_requisition” line, if there is not, this is why the device was booting straight to normal mode

To update it we just need to issue this command

localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -s “oem_device_requisition”=“remora”

Again feel free to run localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -l and ensure your text got written, if it has again sudo reboot and once rebooted you should be in Meet mode!

Thats it for getting the device into Meet mode! But there are more steps…


During setup you can say you want to setup as an enterprise or work device and you’ll be prompted to enter a workspace email and sign in.

If the device is in Meet mode and you don’t have a meet licence you will get an error. You can purchase meet licences using the instructions here – you may also need an enterprise enrolment licence

Once you have purchased the licence, sign in again and the meet application should launch normally. There you go! Meet device ready to go – you’ll need to plugin a USB Cam / Microphone but you’ve got a functional Meet device for a fraction of the price of the new hardware

Newer hardware is much better, better cameras, compatibility etc and are recommend over buying second hand devices


The other Chromebox I’m still working on, it has a separate issue where it says “Network unavailable” even though a network is available. If I manage to figure that one out I’ll blog it to.

Even though this took way longer than just buying compatible hardware, its allowed me to test whether I should or not at a much lower cost, and repurposed a device that was likely to just become more e-waste

If this blog has helped you follow me on X or go and increase my subscriber count on YouTube

Simple Mistakes Setting up Authelia

Recently I went down the path of setting up Authelia after a friend told me about using it and Traefik to effectively allow SSL to be applied to every docker container I have running at home should I want to.

If you want to learn about how to do this as well I highly recommend watching this video the videos that Technotim produces are what I consider the appropriate level of tutorial, where he explains the reasoning behind doing something, the potential problems but also the reasons why he has decided to do something. On top of this, he also provides example documentation files which makes getting everything up and running a lot easier as you can start from a config he created.

Now – for me there were two very simple mistakes I made when trying to configure everything so I’d thought I’d outline them below and just how simple they are to fix.

Hashing your password

Part of the install process is issued the following command to hash your password:

docker run authelia/authelia:latest authelia hash-password “yourpasswordhere”

Seems simple right? Well it is. However the simple mistake that I made was I was issuing the command like this

docker run authelia/authelia:latest authelia hash-password ‘yourpasswordhere’

Using single back ticks tells Authelia you were using a special characters, in my case when I was testing I wasn’t so the hash created did not match, and therefore the password also did not then match since the hash was being changed due to single backticks

So thats simple problem number 1, very easy to fix that one. 

Setting up 2FA the QR Code Does not generate

In Technotim’s video he explains the method of using notification.txt instead of emailing a link to yourself. This allows you to be able to see the email that would be generated by logging into your authelia host and reading the notification.txt file. instead of having to go through all of the hassles of setting up outgoing mail servers.

Seems simple again right? Well it is… there was a simple mistake I was making here that caused this as well.

Many of you setting this stuff up are likely logging in via SSH or using some kind of console session to access everything. In my case I was using SSH to access the host, then opening nano to get the URL required for 2FA setup

The issue I found was nano doesn’t make it very obvious if you’re seeing the end of a line or not – so the URL for setting up 2FA was actually extending beyond the boundary of the terminal session I was using.

I originally thought there may be a mismatch between the URL being generated and what got stored in the database, which is where I found the issue because I could see when using DB Browser for SQL Lite that what I had in the browser bar did’t match what was stored in the DB. I copied the key from the DB into the browser and then everything worked as normal.

Confused as to what was happening I decided to instead use the command tail to read the file instead of opening it with nano. This is as simple as

tail notification.txt

This will just dump the contents straight to the terminal and you can copy and paste it from there, in full length as it will split it over the lines instead of letting the text go beyond the end of a window.

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Fixing Note 3 Teamwin Boot Loop Issue

Recently I was trying to completely wipe and Android device so I could pass it on to someone to work with a DJI drone so that they wouldn’t need to spend money buying a phone.

However after attempting to restore the phone to factory settings I ended up getting a boot loop issue where the phone would not load entirely.

I began searching and most of the information I found indicated that I’d need a windows computer and specialised software. It turns out though all you need is the Android SDK.

You can download the SDK for your appropriate system from here:

Once you’ve downloaded them (in my case I’m on a mac) extract the files and enter the extracted folder then start adb by issuing the command “adb devices”

You should now be able to issue commands via adb. Here is what I did next:

STEP ONE – This command starts a shell session on your connected devices which means after this step you are running commands directly on your phone

beaugaudron$ adb shell


~ # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/fota


~ # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/misc



If you are lucky like I was you should now be rebooted and past the looping screen.

Hope this helps – the advantage of this method over others is the only program and access you need is adb, you don’t even need fastboot nor do you need to be booted into recovery mode or download mode.


Why does this blog exist?

I started this blog as I’ve found that there are several things that I would like to write about that don’t necessarily fit within the realms of my businesses blog (which can be found here)

So what can you expect to read in this blog? To be honest a whole host of things. I do a lot of random things outside of my daily job and also notice a lot of things that I feel are probably better expressed on my own blog instead of a blog related to my own company.

So if you’ve got Feedly or a similar RSS reader – be sure to subscribe to this blog to keep up to date with all the things that I’m working on or have noticed in the world.

FTTN and FTTP NBN What’s the Difference?

If you’ve been thinking about switching to the NBN (National Broadband Network) you’ve probably come across the two acronyms FTTN and FTTP – but what do they mean?

FTTN (Fibre to the Node)

FTTN stands for Fibre to the node. This basically means that your NBN connection still relies on your good old phone line to get to the “node” (those little green boxes you’ve probably noticed on the side of the road) before connecting to the fibre backbone that will get you on to the internet.

If you have FTTN NBN available in your area in most circumstances NBN installers don’t actually even need to enter your house to enable the service. It can all be done externally just like the old ADSL/ADSL2+ services were.

FTTN uses a VDSL technology for delivering the internet service. In our experience it’s best to use the equipment provided to get you online with FTTN because although there are several VDSL compatible devices you can buy off the shelf – not all support the specific requirements needed for you to get connected.

FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)

FTTP stands for fibre to the premises. This refers to the connection between the NBN node and your actual house or business. If you have access to FTTP this will mean that an NBN installer will need to enter your house to set up the network equipment required to get you online.

FTTP is delivered into the house via fibre optic cable, which is then converted into an ethernet signal which will connect to a router. On most FTTP services the ethernet port that you connect to is labelled “UNI D-1” you’ll need to connect this to the WAN port on your modem/router for you to get connected up.

Again – it’s recommended that you use the equipment provided by your provider to connect as they may require specific connection types to get you online that are not available via off the shelf solutions.

Whats better?

Theoretically FTTP is the better service as it can support a faster and higher data throughput. However in our real world tests we’ve seen FTTN and FTTP services perform almost the same. Generally though as well you don’t get a choice you either have the option of one or the other. If you are moving business premises however it may be worth investigating if you will be going to an NBN compatible area and how the service will be delivered to you.

FTTP generally will have a lower latency then FTTN services – which is incredibly important if you want to run services such as VoIP over the connection with multiple connected users.

What else should I be careful of?

If you move to a FTTN service you can normally port your phone number. This means keeping the same phone number on a brand new service. Before you do this though you should be sure that you aren’t disrupting any devices in your home that are reliant on your landline – in some cases it’s not just your phone you have to worry about.

The two main services that may still require a landline to function are:

  • Secuirty Systems (back to base alarms)
  • Medical Emergency Systems

Be sure that you talk to your providers of those services to see what the options are before switching over.

If you still have a fax machine that needs a landline, look at a service such as  instead that can convert your faxes to emails for a low yearly cost.

What Speed Should I Pay For?

We recommend people get a minimum of 50Mbit/20Mbit connection. If you can get afford the 100Mbit/40Mbit services go for that.

We don’t recommend anything lower than 50Mbit as really that’s not an incredible amount quicker then what ADSL2+ offers in some areas.

What about data?

Again, this depends on your budget but so many services now offer unlimited connections for such a reasonable price we recommend going with them so you don’t have to worry about it.

Otherwise – look at what you intend to do online, a household with two people just checking emails does not need anywhere near as much data as a family with several children using the internet for online gaming & Netflix.

I still need help

If you still need assistance getting connected get in contact with us here

Preventing Data Loss

It seems to have happened to everyone at some point – you’ve got a particular file you really need, an assignment, some photos – really just any data on your computer and suddenly for any number of reasons its now unable to be opened.

I’ve retrieved data for a lot of clients in this instance, however there are a few things that you can do that will prevent this from happening in the first place.

Simple Backups

The first of course is to backup your data. I often get asked what is the best way to do this – there are several different ways (which I will go through below) but it comes down to what is important to you most. If you just need certain files in case a computer fails and you need to get up and running quick somewhere else you can use something as simple as an external hard drive or thumb drive and save to that drive and to your computer as well. Why save to multiple places? Simple – if you have the space available or different drives keep multiple copies as you never know what could fail and when. If you’re relying on saving to a USB drive and it suddenly dies you’ll be very glad that you saved that important file in more than one place

Home Backup Software

There is a heap of different backup softwares available if you don’t want to rely on cloud based sync tools. Depending on which operating system you are using there are different packages available.

For windows I recommend as its quite simple to use and gives you multiple different options of backups including incremental and full backups. It’s also not incredibly expensive.

For Mac I’ve found Time Machine to be an amazing tool for backing up. You can restore individual versions of files, so if you’ve made a huge mistake you’ve still got the ability to revert to yesterdays file easily – you can use any external drive to create a time machine backup including NAS shares. For example for my Macs at home they use time machine to backup to an external NAS that has a RAID 1 mirror – this means that my NAS and 2 hard drives have to fail before I would lose my data. Despite having this I still keep a lot of data stored in the cloud as well.

Cloud Backups

These days we have several smarter options for backups including Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud & Box – these are all cloud based solutions that are very cost effective and quite simple to use. Dropbox is probably one of the most commonly used and understood by people – there are different levels of each service available that range from being free to paid based on the data required.

The advantage of cloud backups is that they are stored external from your computer, if your computer completely failed and you’ve been using a cloud based backup tool you will be able access your files elsewhere quite easily by logging in online. If you get a new computer getting your files back is normally as simple as downloading a sync tool and signing in to the platform.

If you use a cloud based solution we recommend turning on security features such as 2 Factor Authentication so that people need more than just your password to be able to access your data.

Be aware for certain types of businesses there is legislation that requires you to keep your data stored within Australia so some cloud storage providers may not be suitable for you.

Backing up files vs Bare Metal Backups

If you’ve ever heard the term bare metal backup it probably didn’t make a lot of sense. Bare metal backups refer to backups that can fully rebuild a computer back to a completely operational state – so not just your office documents and photos. When you are considering what you need to backup you should consider if a bare metal backup is required, this is generally only used in environments that are reliant on servers so that if there is a catastrophic failure there is minimal downtime.

So remember that backing up your files means just that, a copy of your files whereas a bare metal backup means a backup thats capable of fully restoring the functionality of a system.

I didn’t backup I think I’ve lost all my data what do I do?

If you have lost data you shouldn’t panic – well at least not yet. Get in contact with me here and we can help you out by trying to restore your files and set you up with a backup routine to suit your requirements

If we can’t reocover your data (our data recovery options are limited) there’s a great business based in Queensland – Kroll Ontrack Data Recovery that will be able to assist you, however be aware that data recovery can be a very expensive exercise and is only recommend when you absolutely 100% need your data recovered. We use this company instead of others as they are most of the time able to give you a preview of the files they are able to retrieve before you commit to a full recovery whereas other companies we have found do not offer this service.

Have you had a bad data experience? Leave a comment in the section below and let me know what happened!



Using Belking Wemo’s for Connectivity and Automation

The last article on the site written by Ronnie from discussed the uses of IoT devices and what you can do with them.

I’ve always been amazed by what you can achieve with a computer and the introduction of Belkin’s Wemo devices definitely had me intrigued.

I was looking at Bunnings warehouse one day at the Wemo devices that are just plugged in to a power point and you can turn them on and off with an iPhone app. At that point in time I just thought thats really just a “gimmick” (I was completely wrong, more on that later) – I kept looking and found a device called the Wemo Maker. I picked it up and started reading about what they can do. They can control solenoids. This to me was actually very useful and I immediately began thinking where am I going to use one?

The device cost $149AUD so I got one and took it home, as I got home and opened my garage door using the remote button that’s always played up I thought to myself perfect! The Wemo Maker can control the door as it uses a solenoid (that was within the specs that the Wemo could use) so I went and started wiring it up.

When you initially turn on a Wemo device you configure it using an app so that it connects to your home network and not just the standard Wemo network it creates when first powered up. This setup was incredibly simple. Once I’d set up the app and wired the maker in to my door I was good to go. The whole process took less than an hour. I now only need my iPhone to enter my house.

Since this device worked so well I began looking again at other Belkin devices. I ended up needing some timed power points for a lighting project that we did at home (check out

It turns out now Belkin have another product called the Wemo Insight. This was perfect, it not only could be set to be turned on or off via a timer – it also gives you real time information on power that is used and also average power as well. They even give you an estimated cost of electricity for the time they are on. All of a sudden I realised what I thought was a “gimmick” device was actually going to be incredibly useful to me.

After I got the Wemo Insights home (these ones are only $69AUD each) I went through the setup again and got everything configured. I then used the app to set the on/off times and day on/off times. After this I began looking around the app and found that I could also remotely access my Wemo devices. This is useful as you can see the state of the device even if you aren’t home – in my case it meant I could confirm my lighting controllers and light show was actually running without having to be physically at home. Say you’re out and think you turned something off but you weren’t sure. If you have a Wemo you can check and be sure straight from your phone.

That’s not all though. If you are familiar with IFTTT or Nest – Belkin’s Wemo devices can also interface with them. Meaning you’ve got an even greater automation ability to do things like turn a sprinkler on based on the weather, turn on a fan or air conditioning based on temperature.

So if you’re looking to start automating things in your home and want to do it on a low budget definitely check out Belkin’s Wemo range. They are very affordable and very simple to setup and use. Start small – but don’t forget to think big!

What is an IOT Device?

Imagine waking up to your smartphone’s alarm clock which does not only go off to make sure you arrive in your meeting on time, but would also prompt your internet-enabled coffee maker to brew you a cup or two while you freshen and suit up for the day. How about a car so smart it automatically finds the fastest route to your destination? And when all hope is lost and you will end up late in a meeting, it will notify your colleagues right away about the delay for so and so minutes because you and your smart car encountered the inevitable on the road?

These are just some of the incredible scenarios which can best explain the Internet of Things a.k.a. IoT. These days, many things can already be automated may that be in the comforts of one’s home or in the office. And one way such scenarios become possible is through smart devices like Belkin’s WeMo Maker. I’ve seen different devices like this in some IoT Events I attended but this WeMo got my attention.

Except for the smart car that drives the fastest route, the Maker is one of WeMo’s products which automates a myriad of other electrical devices in your home and gives you a remote yet full control on some switches in your home.

Smart Home

The WeMo Maker looks like a small box with an antenna which serves as a router for all the connected devices.

While WeMo already has a good number of products in its portfolio, the WeMo Maker is probably one of the smartest as it enables automation even to electrical devices that were originally not “connected”. It is then no wonder why it was recognized as the “Innovation of the Year” by Popular Science’ Best of What’s New 2014.

One smart way of using WeMo Maker is by connecting it to a sprinkler. This way, the sprinklers may be remotely controlled from the WeMo app in your mobile device. Things can also get smarter since it has If This Then That (IFTTT) capabilities. Say, for example, you can set turning your smart sprinkler on when it’s already sunset or make it sense if the moisture in the surroundings is enough then you may set it to stay turned off until it’s necessary again to water the lawn.

An IFTTT feature also enhances your garage gate. The IFTTT feature helps you create recipes. You may set a recipe like “If (insert time), then close” or if you want your garage door open and waiting for you, you set something like “If 100 meters away, then open.”

Generally, the Internet of Things means that disparate things—may that be devices, switches, or appliances—can be connected through the internet. This promotes productivity and efficiency in accomplishing mundane daily tasks.

Would you use a WeMo Maker in your home? In the office? Share us your thoughts.

This article was written by Ronnie Maurillo from

Wireless Network for an Event

Recently I was tasked with arranging wireless for an event in Newcastle ( – this isn’t something I normally do so I started researching different options available.

I asked the event organisers how many people were expected and asked if they could take me to the venue to investigate space requirements which they did.

If you need to do this task at all here are the questions that you should be asking:

  1. Is there an internet connection available in the building (if there is test its speed, just because it is there doesn’t mean its useable)
  2. Is there access to power close to where your attendees will be
  3. Are data points available in the room you where you are putting your equipment
  4. How big is the area you are trying to cover
  5. How many people are attending the event

After inspecting the venue there were a few things that I was concerned with:

  1. The uplink to the building was terrible (8MBit connection…)
  2. The only way to get an uplink to our network equipment would be to run a cable taped to a few walls as no data points existed in the function area – or use 4G equipment and not rely on it at all
  3. The size of the room and amount of clients that would be using the equipment

So with this knowledge in mind I started considering what equipment we would need to ensure a stable and useable connection throughout the event. Here is the short list of equipment:

  • 4G Bonding Router
  • 4G Modems and sim cards
  • Data Plans
  • Commercial Wireless Access Points
  • Access to power
  • Firewall/routing to limit speed and access so a single user could not saturate the connection

Once I started to consider the costs of all these things I realised that for a one off event, we would be spending a significant amount of money on equipment alone – and – would be having to spend quite a significant amount of data access as well.

So with all of that in mind I decided to google for event wireless providers, mainly to get ideas about how other companies provided this service.

I found a company based in Manly called “Pop Up Wifi” and sent an enquiry through their website chat. The owner of the business Andrew offered to ring me and discuss the needs of the event.

I spoke to Andrew and let him know what I had already found out, what my concerns were and asked for the costs and what was required for the service they provide. He said “Just power, everything else is ready to go when you get the unit”

Seemed simple enough, I then asked some questions about SSID’s and they said we can set up two networks one with higher priority then the other and you can tell us in advance so we can configure before the device gets to you. After this I was incredibly confident that the unit would be reliable and suitable for the event.

I won’t discuss the exact costs of the unit here as there are multiple options they have available (Contact them via for further info) However I will say this, to buy all of the equipment required – just buy it not configure was estimated to be roughly 8 to 10 times the cost of the hire – and then, you would need to have the expertise to configure the equipment or pay someone who did have the expertise.

The rate for data as well was nearly 50% less than buying through Optus or Telstra retail channels. So overall this unit was way more cost and time effective than us setting up a unit ourselves.

Here’s a photo of what the unit looks like:


As Andrew said to me on the phone, all you do is plug it in and he was right – when the unit arrived to our office I simply plugged it in, waited about 5 minutes until I could see the SSID, connected up and could browse. I walked away from the unit to emulate the size of the room that this would be going in to and it had great and reliable range. I then contacted Pop Up Wifi again just to make sure they could see the unit remotely – they could.

The night before the event, we positioned the unit near the audio equipment for the event and did a final test, all still was fine. The following day we powered the unit up and let it run the wireless for the entire time.

The great thing about Pop Up Wifi is that they can give you information as you request it since they remotely monitor their equipment. At the beginning of the day I requested to know the amount of connected clients – it was 22 at this stage. At the end of the day I asked for an update on data usage, they responded quickly with 18GB.

After the entire event was done Pop Up Wifi provided us with a report that showed a breakdown of operating systems of devices connected, total unique devices connected and the amount of data that was used on each source, we were able to see that out of the social networks Twitter was the most heavily used. We were also able to see that we used 39GB of data over the two day event.

The next step after the entire event was to send the unit back to Pop Up Wifi – again, they make this super easy. In the box they send the unit in they supply you with a return con note, all we had to do was repackage the device and put the con note on the box. Pop Up Wifi had already pre-booked the collection and let us know when we needed the device ready by.

If you are planning on having wireless at your next event make sure you contact Pop Up Wifi – they have options available that suit various event requirements at a very affordable price and their devices are incredibly simple to use.


Using Snapchat

Why Use Snapchat?

Snapchat has had explosive growth and this month has become more important than Instagram in terms of engagement for youths. It is also edging very close to matching – if not exceeding Facebook’s video view count. So this means you have the ability to reach an incredibly large audience that is still growing in size.

So what can you do in snapchat?

Snapchat allows you to message 1 to 1 with users, send short videos to them or photos (snaps)  in a 1 to many style or one of the most utilised features now being used by brands and individuals is “Stories”

What are Snapchat Stories

Snapchat stories allow you to create several photos or short videos (15 seconds per video) that can be added to your daily “Story” these snaps will exist in the snapchat platform for 24 hours – after that they disappear and can no longer be viewed. Many people praise this form of communication as it forces people to push incredibly “in the moment” content and is considered more real than some of the content that is being released on other platforms. If you want to see a really good example of someone utilising a snapchat story – add GaryVee (Gary Vaynerchuk) on snapchat and check out the content he posts day by day.

Using Snapchat Snaps, Videos and Stories

Something that seems to confuse people with snapchat when they first use it is the platform really takes advantage of the fact that it is on mobile devices – instead of having a bunch of buttons like most other apps do – when you open snapchat once you have signed in the first screen that you see if the screen that allows you to take a “snap” either as a still photo or you can hold your finger down on the record button to do a short video. Now once the video is complete you can easily add things to your snap by using the buttons that have now shown at the top of your snap – or, my favourite by swiping left or right. Once you’ve set your snap how you would like it you can either use the arrow button on the right to send it directly  to certain people OR if you click the small square with a + button in it this will add the snap to your story. There’s a few more buttons that are on this screen but I encourage you to try them out for yourself to get used to snapping!

Using Snapchat for Messaging

As I mentioned above Snapchats interface isn’t totally driven by buttons for example, if you want to view different sections of the app try swiping left, right, down and up on different sections on the app. For example – if you wish to send a message directly to one of your contacts, swipe right on the main screen then you can use the magnifying glass to find the contact you wish to message, tap on them then type your message and hit the send button. Don’t forget as well you can still take photos or videos in this section and also add photos from your gallery.

A quick tip though – snapchat by default does not save any direct messages, if you view it and go out of that section of the app its gone. However a quick tip – if you wish to save a message, simply long press on the message and snapchat will save it for you. Note though – that this only works for text, videos and photos once viewed disappear. You can screenshot a photo or video in snapchat but it will notify the other user that you have done so.

Viewing Snapchat Stories & Other Content

From the mainscreen, instead of swiping right swipe left and this will show you at the top – your story, below that the discover tab, next down is Live and then recent updates is stories from any of your friends. To view anything on this page simply tap on the icon and you can begin viewing. The channels listed under Discover are sponsored content by businesses that snapchat have allowed, under Live you will generally find an event that Snapchat have curated based on snaps in that area and recent updates are as mentioned earlier – the people you have added as friends. If you want to stop viewing a story simply swipe down for the story to stop.

Gaining Snapchat Viewers

One thing that confuses people with Snapchat is there is no real built in “discovery method” for a new user to find other users.  The way most people add people to snapchat is by using the Add from Address book function that will scan your phones numbers and check if the numbers match any snapchat users – you can then click on add friend. Once you have done this you can send direct snaps to that person – with snap stories however unless the user has their settings for allowing everyone to view stories you will not be able to see them unless they also add you back as a friend.

So what about beyond your phone contacts? Well this is where snapchat make it interesting – the little yellow ghost that you have on your profile when you sign in or that is on the add page if you use the snapchat web address (mine is here) functions basically the same as a QR code but is referred to as a “Snapcode”

On the Add friends section of Snapchat there is an option called “Add By Snapcode” – all you need to do is tap on this and then scan the code from a website, facebook, a screenshot pretty much anywhere it is available to add that person to your snapchat contacts. So if you want users to add you in snapchat beyond those that are in your phone already – you’ve got to revert to the old school method of telling people you are on snapchat by posting either your username, or even better your snapcode on all of your other social or communication platforms (for example, add it to your email signature! or add it as your snapcode as your facebook profile photo)

What content should I post on snapchat?

This is another thing that seems to perplex a lot of people, the content you post should be relevant to the message you are trying to convey or relevant to what you wish people to be engaging with you for. Above I mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk – he is renowned for growing businesses and social media – so what do you think his snap stories are about? They are about the places he is speaking at, business, social media and he also very successfully uses the platform to sell his books and to announce public meetups.

Create content that really showcases you and the industry that you are in. For example if you a retailer this could be a video of inside your shop, a story showing different products you may have on that day, don’t be afraid to talk directly into the camera to make it personal.  Don’t feel like  you’ve got to only show things your working on or related to business – remember that you are human to so create content of your day to show that you are in fact a real person e.g. if you go to a coffee shop to meet someone post a snap of the shop you are in or – better yet if you are talking to people in a bar take a snap that includes you talking to them.

Don’t be afraid to use Snapchat to sell your products – it’s an awesome platform for that.

The best part about snapchat is its really hard to fake something, you’ve got 15 seconds to do a video and it can’t be edited in a big way so you’ve really got to be good at engaging to make the platform work for you. Remember that if using stories though you can string a bunch of photos or videos one after the other.


If you are using Snapchat make sure you have GPS enabled and you will be able to utilise GeoFilters. GeoFilters are basically an overlay of a graphic that shows an event or an area where you are in. Next time you take a Snap swipe until you can see a GeoFilter – you’ll be surprised where some exist. Be aware though that they are not available everywhere. Another thing that often gets overlooked is Snapchat also have “On-Demand” GeoFilters that can be created and purchased, this is great if you have an event you are running or a wedding for example where you would like a filter.

The filters that you see in most locations is considered a Community GeoFilter – that is it is submitted by anyone for use by everyone.

So What are You Waiting For?

Go and download snapchat!


Dont forget to add me by snapchat username: beaug-87 or by SnapCode