Why I own several Raspberry Pi’s

When the original Raspberry Pi was first released I jumped on board – the idea of having a tiny computer that cost less than $50 fascinated me.

My first Raspberry Pi I used to control media within my house, including automating downloading and distribution of TV content. It did this reasonably well but the limited RAM and CPU power definitely became noticeable.

So when the Raspberry Pi 2 was announced, again I was fascinated about now having the same form factor device but with more power! The price was still quite low so I ended up ordering a few more.

Armed with my Raspberry Pi 2 I set out to see what I may be able to use it for – this time I ended up turning it into a retro games emulator (More info on that here) – with the addition of a bluetooth USB module I purchased from Jaycar I was able to wirelessly connect in Playstation 3 controllers for a more authentic gaming experience. Thanks to Playhard Gaming I was able to purchase the genuine controllers that I needed for that project

It wasn’t too long after completing the retro games project that the Raspberry Pi 3 was announced. The big difference here with the Pi 3 was again more processing power and RAM but on top of that – built in Bluetooth and Wireless – it was no longer necessary to plug in USB devices just to get a wireless or bluetooth connection. So naturally – I ordered a couple of these to tinker with.

The first one I turned into a media centre using Kodi – the aim of this project was to make it easy enough to give to someone so they could just plug in and get started – and, then if they returned a media USB stick to me I could update just the USB stick and they could go plug it back in and easily get access. The Kodi Pi had a miniature keyboard, a USB drive (for holding a lot of media) and all the things required to connect to a TV. It worked perfectly fine, quite a good little media centre for <$200 (including all cables, adaptors etc)

The second Raspberry Pi 3 I used as a master computer in a Christmas Light Show that I completed last year. This allowed me to keep the overall power usage and the cost of the light show reasonably low. You can view the full show here

Since I’ve been able to use them for several different applications I’m always interested in what other people are doing with them or what else I can use them for. More recently I’ve used one to replace a DHCP Server in an office, which again allowed me to replace a large chunky power hungry server with a device thats total power supply is only 10W maximum.

If you’ve used a Raspberry Pi for something interesting be sure to comment or reach out to me to let me know what you’ve done.

I’m looking forward to seeing now as well what people will use the even more powerful but similar form factor ASUS Tinkerboards for – I’m yet to get one of these but I think they’d be incredibly for emulation purposes. Maybe I’ll retire the Pi 2 and upgrade it with one 😉

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 www.gofax.com.au  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 http://www.acronis.com/en-au/personal/computer-backup/ 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!



Mac Equivalents of PC Programs

I get asked a lot by people “where is this thing I used to have” when people have switched from a Windows computer to an Apple. This article is just a quick write up to show people the equivalent or similar software between the two systems.

  1. Task Manager: In windows this is the program you go to when you need to end a task when its no longer responding. In windows you can access it by pressing ctrl + alt + delete on your keyboard or right clicking on the task bar and clicking on “Task Manager”. On a Mac you’ve got basically the same tool its just called something different – “Activity Monitor” you can access it by going to Finder > Applications > Utilities >Activity Monitor. If you just need to force close an app and don’t need the other features of activity monitor you can simply press Command + Option + Escape
  2. The “Start Menu” & Search: From Windows Vista onwards we’ve had search available in the start menu. On a Mac we have a magnifying glass in the top right of the screen known as “Spotlight” to use it, simply click on the magnifying glass then type in whatever you are searching for. As for the start menu, on a Mac you don’t really have a menu you’ve got the dock – the colourful pictures along the bottom of your screen. If you still can’t find a certain app you think you have you’ll need to go into Mac’s equivalent of Windows Explorer. More on that next
  3. Windows Explorer: This one tends to confuse a lot of people for some reason, probably because everyone got so used to clicking “Computer” or “My Computer” – on a Mac your file explorer is referred to as “Finder” it’s the first application in your dock that looks like a strange smiling face. If you click on this you’ll notice you can now navigate your files. Here’s another trick though if you want to go to a specific path where you know a file exists press command + shift + g and you can specify the folder you would like to open.
  4. Control Panel: On a Mac your equivalent of  “Control Panel” is System Preferences. You can access it via the Utilities folder in Applications, you can use spotlight to find it – or you can press the option key and certain function keys to bring up specific System Preference windows (for example try Option + F2 (Increase Brightness) – another thing that confuses people here is the lack of an “Apply” button – once you change settings they apply. The only time they won’t is if you haven’t clicked the padlock to allow changes first (this is in the bottom left of certain preference windows in case you haven’t noticed it)
  5. Command Prompt: Some people, especially computer technicians still like to have access to a command based or terminal system for running certain commands. On a Mac this program is called “Terminal” again you can find this in the Utilities folder or use spotlight to find it. Keep in mind though that commands you may have been used to in Windows command prompt don’t necessarily translate to Mac Terminal. For example, if you want a directory listing you’ll have to type “ls” instead of “dir”. If you’re familiar with Linux commands you’ll probably recognise that terminal responds to nearly all linux commands.

This is really just scratching the surface an mainly focused on things that are installed out of the box on each system. If you have a question about an equivalent app for either system leave a comment below!


Using Belking Wemo’s for Connectivity and Automation

The last article on the site written by Ronnie from www.itupdate.com.au 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 www.facebook.com/minmiroadlightshow)

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 https://itupdate.com.au/

What to do when your IP starts with 169.254.xxx.xxx

If you check your computers IP address and it shows an IP address starting with 169.254.xxx.xxx more than likely what ever device or computer that acts as a DHCP server has an issue.

Some symptoms you might notice besides the strange IP address are:

  • You can access shared files on other computers but not other network resources
  • You can’t access the internet

So how do you fix it?

This depends on your network setup but the most basic and simple initial step is to reboot the device that provides DHCP. This may be a router or could be a windows server, if you’re unsure of which device provides DHCP you should contact your IT department or external provider for assistance.

Once you’ve done this step you can disable then re-enable your network device and see if you get a new IP address. If your address no longer starts with 169.254.xxx.xxx your DHCP server is now working again – however you should probably investigate further in to why it failed in the first place.

If you’ve rebooted your DHCP device and you are still having issues the next step would be to set your computer to have an IP address that is in the same range as the rest of your equipment manually. For example if you know your main internet routers IP address is and has a subnet of then set your computers address to be and gateway – If you get a message saying that there is an IP address conflict change the last set of digits on to something different (anything between .2-.254).

Once you’ve manually set your address try and ping different devices on your network – if you can ping your devices that’s a good sign, more than likely its just your DHCP server thats failed and not your network equipment. If you can’t, well then you need to start looking at your network infrastructure overall because its got bigger issues!

If you were able to ping everything you then need to connect in to your device that does DHCP and check – is DHCP even enabled?

Enabling/Re-Enabling DHCP Servers

Home Router

On a standard internet router there is normally a section that says use router as DHCP server. Check that it is on and make sure that the DHCP range that is configured matches your network and has enough IP addresses available to allocate to all of your devices. Most routers will require rebooting for the change to take effect.

Windows Servers

If you are using a windows server you can check services.msc and ensure that DHCP Server has started, if it has not – right click on the service and go to “Start” hopefully it will start normally, then you can check that it is set to automatically start so that you don’t have to fix the issue again. If there is a problem you normally we see an error and can investigate further.


If you are using linux it depends on what DHCP server software you are running – I normally use isc-dhcp-server and raspbian on a Raspberry Pi. To restart that server type the following:

sudo service isc-dhcp-server restart

Again, if there are errors they should display but if there is not the service should start with no issues.

Once you’ve managed to get your DHCP server up and running again all you should need to do is re-configure your network adaptor to obtain an IP address automatically – and you should be able to get your normal DHCP assigned IP address and will be able to access your network devices and the internet again.

Why use DHCP in the first place?

DHCP allows you to allocate IP addresses automatically and you can configure the addresses, gateways and DNS servers that each device will be given – and that’s on the most basic level, DHCP has more abilities that are helpful in network environments (for example google DHCP Option 66) Without DHCP you would need to manually set every single devices IP address – and – if you ever have a network change you’d have to reconfigure all of your devices manually for things to be able to “talk” (network) again. Would you really want to do that on a network of say 100 computers? I certainly wouldn’t.

I am often surprised to find some offices and point of sale setups where another provider has not even bothered to set up DHCP. The excuses that are given by some people I find even more surprising – my favourite I hear all the time is “But I don’t want the addresses to change” – there are very few circumstances where this is a valid argument in those environments. It’s important to remember that even if you are using DHCP you can still use “address reservation” which will ensure that certain devices always receive the same IP address.

How does that differ from a static address?

If you set up DHCP to use address reservation and you had to replace your DHCP server or device that provides a DHCP server you’ll get a new IP address (unless of course you actually copy the configuration from your old server as well then address reservation would be enabled right?) – whereas with a static IP address it never changes at all unless you manually reconfigure it to something else.

If you’re setting up a network strongly consider whether a static IP address is actually required. Generally there are only a few devices that should have static IP addresses and they are not your standard office computers.

Why I configure networks using DHCP

The reason I always use DHCP is if one of our customers purchased a new modem, or their ISP sends them a new one because the old one is broken and they attempt to set it up themselves the computers should ask for an IP address from the DHCP server from the new router – no equipment needs reconfiguration.

In larger office environments it also allows for greater control over exactly what network addresses and other settings you want client computers to use and is manageable from a single point.

I’m still having trouble can you help?

If you are still having issues with your networking setup feel free to contact us






Wireless Network for an Event

Recently I was tasked with arranging wireless for an event in Newcastle (www.digfestival.com.au) – 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 http://popupwifi.com.au/ 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.


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!