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Most suppliers will have their own favourites, here is a list of ones that I think if you have not got anything to look at that can handle 4+ people and are free to use. For family and friends, you may need it too

Google hangouts, as most people now have a Gmail account, they are already signed up. We use this one for our video conferencing. We find it very good for chatting. What I like is that it can run on a very wide variety of platforms. It is fairly easy to use once you get used to it.  It also being actively updated.

The problems we have is that it does require a decent internet connection if you have a bad quality internet which happens a lot in Australia when the NBN goes haywire, you can be cut out.   

Here are some others 


Google duo 

To ease disruption from COVID-19, UberConference Free now allows longer call duration and up to 50 participants.


Many of the Australian schools are using it now, so many people already have it. What is really good about it is the security.

Zoom you may this one as it is now taking off because the schools are switching to it. From what we have been told its close to breaking point with now over 25 million users.



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Some of you will need to upgrade to the new after

pay touch software.

Afterpay touch

Update 3/12/18

Please contact us as the links have been removed 










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I was reading this report on the Microsoft financial report here. {link been removed}

Most of their revenue now comes from cloud-based products like Office 365.

Still, they are doing well out of Windows 10 updates. I am not surprised as its an excellent product and as a result, we have upgraded almost all our clients to Windows 10, but Microsoft has only about a year and a bit, of these upgrade left as Windows 7's free support which is very limited now will end on the 14 January 2020. 

The article does state that Microsoft "has no intention of leaving money on the table, even if there never will be an explicit Windows X-to-Windows Y transition" but what does that mean for Windows, we still do not know?

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They say "A picture is said to be worth a thousand words" and over the years, I have seen planograms used by small to large retailers to show much about their shop and their plans. Even small retailers with tiny shops,

This discussion here should first be put in context that planograms are great tools also what I am talking about here is a proper planogram, not a drawing program.

For a small shop today, a large fit is often between $50,000 to $200,000 for a big shop fit, and it can knock the shop out for a while. When one retailer decided to use his stocktake data to look for places of high shoplifting utilizing a planogram, it took about a day and what was at stake was about $20,000 of missing stock that year, it did help a lot. Even just looking at a million dollar a year turnover in a shop visually, I have seen some great ideas for improvements in both turnover and reducing shoplifting.

I have seen people save thousands of dollars using planograms to highlight a variety of issues.

If you want to know more, please click here for a video explaining what a planogram can do for your shop.



You can either buy it outright in which case the price varies considerably. Depending on whether you buy a simple drawing program to a full-blown system, as a punt, I would say an SMB business should budget between about $300 to a $1,000. This is very approximate as sometimes I have seen people spend $300 and it was too much, and sometimes I have seen much more spent and it was not nearly enough. The significant advantage to owning it is that you, in theory, you can play with a lot of options continuously. I say theory because one of the problems with owning a planogram software is that it takes awhile to figure out how to use it. A person needs about a week or two to figure it out to get to the stage they can be said to be commercially competent. The other issue is that although it is not hard, they do tend to need a few attempts at making planograms, in the beginning, to get it right on the third attempt they do a good job. So please do not be fooled if someone demonstrates it to you at a trade show and in a few minutes shows you a great planogram. It took them quite a while to get to that knowledge and what they show you are far away from being usable. The other problem is once they get to that competency, if they do not use the software regularly they tend to forget it and have to relearn it and so often what happens is that this person moves on?

The other alternative is that often if you are planning changes to the shop, the people doing the changes usually offer you the services of a planogram expert free who will naturally push their solution or you can hire a planogram expert to do the task. One advantage of this at least is often the planogram software, and the expert is excellent although in my experience overpriced.


The person doing the planogram can tell you what details you require. They usually can get the information needed by going to your shop and measuring it up and then look through your point of sale software; this is going to be at least a few hours. If you are doing the measurements yourself, I recommend buying a laser measuring device which you can get from a hardware shop and a tape measure. Some planogram software can import data directly from our software through our ad-hoc reporting system.

Often it is a big job as you need product information that many suppliers cannot supply you although if these suppliers do supply major supermarkets they often can provide the information.

Doing it

To prepare the data you often need a working knowledge of excel better than basic. Your point of sale software will require ad-hoc reporting which unfortunately will knock out most POS software in our market space now.


As I have never seen it work well on the first attempt, even if it does you want some variations to think about, so you will need a few tries.

Once you have the planogram, you can go to any tradesman to get quotes; this may result in substantial cost savings on a fit-out. Plus you can then use it to see where your location, shoplifting problems etc. issues are. In generally in my experience people tend to refer continuously to the planogram if they have one. You probably would be using it a few hours a week as what it can do is just magic. See what product looks like here and there arrange large sections of the shop in moments.


Google just gave a stunning demonstration of their home unit making an actual phone call. I was blown away by the people on the other end not realising they were talking to a computer. 

We have seen technology like this with emails, but it was costly for an SMB business, a $1,500/month, nor is email the primary communication system in SMB, and it could not do anything like this, and so we moved on.

We thought when it gets released; we almost certainly can link our system into it as the APIs will have standard interfaces and give our clients a service like this.






If you have a decent computer, it can be very frustrating when you go to run a program; you get a message do you want to update? You generally want the upgrade, as everyone wants to run the latest software with the most recent improvements but NOW is often not the time.

If so this program would be of interest to you. We use it to upgrade our clients' computers often.

What it does it checks what you have, then checks if it is one of its 301 popular applications in its library, and if so will ask you which ones you want to upgrade, I generally go all and once I say YES it will in bulk update them all. It then installs and updates them automatically, while you are doing something else.

What is also useful is that if you do not have some of these programs and want them, you select them too and it will download and install them too automatically.

One point I strongly recommend before using this program in options set it to run a restore point first in options, just in case.



No one wants to wait so what you will notice in the new version of our software is that our reports in our POS Software besides giving more flexibility are now running faster, a lot faster. What we are doing is slowly moving over to the new SAS crystal reports. Which is a big job, so it is taking a lot of time.

What you will also find is that you will flexibility in what you can print, to what printer you can print and a lot more export facilities, you can now export much more detail.

Besides giving you more, it is going to save you a lot of time.



It is looking that the original concept most are saying that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows, is a myth.

Microsoft has recently announced that the original Windows 10 version they launched in July 2015, will not any more receive security and improvements after May 9, 2017. So the original Windows 10 version, will soon no longer be supported. To be fair Windows 10, did get two major updates, namely the Anniversary Update and the Creators Update which is about normal for a windows system.
So soon I think we can expect new Windows maybe 11.

Microsoft will of course tell us about the wonderful new features in Windows 11 that they added to improve their system but they will of course fail to mention the older programs and most importantly the device when you upgrade that suddenly stop working as the drivers are no longer available as the supplier is not updating their device drivers.

Onwards and upwards.


Microsoft's plan obviously is that Windows is going to be no longer Vista, XP, Windows 8, etc its just going to be soon Windows 10. We are not expected to buy new versions of windows what we will be getting are many updates to Windows 10 released over time.So Microsoft released Windows 10, they promised us with updates for life.

As Microsoft has this rigid timetable of releasing major updates and security fixes on the second Tuesday of the month. They now have the next version on Windows 10 ready for release.

Unfortunately, nobody at Microsoft has a calendar, so they have decided to release it in April. The second Tuesday is the 11th of April. Next Tuesday, the Tuesday before Easter. However, that is Tuesday United States time, which for all extents and purposes is Wednesday Australian time.

That is when the Windows 10 update may start downloading, some systems may take a bit longer to get the update than others. So if your Internet and computers are slow over Easter, they are probably downloading and installing a new version of Windows 10.

Then there is the inevitable restart and something is bound tono longer work afterwards. Which Murphy's Law will demand that your point of sale system will slow down right in the middle of a weekend when everyone really does not need this headache too.

Thank you, Microsoft.

If you have a Professional edition of Windows 10. There is an easy way to stop this update being installed now and delay getting the update over Easter by setting the following option.

Details on how to check if you are not sure whether you have Windows 10 home or professional is here.



If you haveprofessional now please.

Click on Start
Click Update & Security
Click Advanced options
Tick the box “Defer feature updates”

This option is supposed to defer new Windows features and upgrades for several months. How long several months is not defined anywhere so I cannot tell you how long that is. You will still get the new Windows 10 Creators update version, just not over Easter.

If you have Windows Home, there is a hack that can stop the updates over Easter so you can do it later. To use the hack, I do not suggest anyone tries this who is not an advanced user of windows. Details are available here.


This is a great program and I use this software on my laptop so that Windows does not overload my laptop by doing updates when I need the computer for work NOW.



If you want to know what you have go control panel > system and you will get a screen like this one.

[Image was removed]

Check the arrows for where you can get the specs.

Now assuming that its time for an upgrade, and you want to buy new hardware for your POS software, here is what I would recommend as your minimum specifications.

As buying a computer for business is not the same as buying a computer for home. At home, if my computer goes down tonight, and I have to wait until tomorrow for an engineer to fix it, is not serious. If a server goes down in the shop for a few hours, it can bring the shop to a halt. The other problem is that you are paying for time. Say, for example, a computer takes 3 minutes longer a day to do its work over four years that 3 minutes would cost you about

360 days x 3 minutes x $26 hour / 60 minutes x 4 years = $1,872.

Of course, modern computers are saving more than 3 minutes a day.
Now the operating system, I recommend is Windows 10. Not only does it run the fastest and latest SQL 2016. Its is also that Windows 7 is already out of mainstream support and has only about two years left of support which is not long enough as most of us buy a computer for 3 to 5 years. Windows 8, I do not recommend at all as do few others, which leave us with Windows 10. Plus of course, why buy something new, to have something old like Windows 7.

This does present a problem in that Windows 10 uses a lot more RAM than previous versions of Windows. I have noticed on a 4GB RAM computer about half the RAM is just being used by windows 10. However, it seems that extra RAM is required even by people now on Windows 7 as some of the updates have caused their RAM requirements to go up too, that is partly why the old computers are slowing down. So I would recommend as the price has dropped that you insist on RAM of no less than 16GB, and I would strongly recommend the new DDR4 RAM as its faster.

For the hard drives, it depends what important to you if speed is all powerful, then get the SSD, which will give you less space, then an HDD but faster speeds, if, however, you need lots of storage, then select the bigger mechanical HDD (Hard Disk Drive). On both systems, our software runs well.

As far as CPUs, I would not recommend anything under 3.30 GHz. Anything less is just too slow today.

Video card generally in point of sale is not so important as the graphics are rarely that demanding so I would not be so concerned about that.

Monitor size is a hard question, Often it depends on what can fit in a spot if it's too big, and it does not fit, then the monitor is useless. Another point I find is that people have very different preferences. It really worthwhile checking out a few sizes to find the one suitable for yourself. Now if you have older people that will be using the monitor, particularly if they are a bit of a distance from the monitor remember they have to read the screen too so maybe get something a bit bigger. Then the other problem you have to balance is that if it's too big, extended use can hurt people's eyes.

I hope this helps; any questions let me know.