Sunday, 16 December 2012

UFB – What this means to us..

Recently Ripped Orange connected up with Telstra Clear Cable, allowing us to access faster broadband.  We managed to triple our download speed and increase upload speed ten times.

Before with Telecom Broadband

After with Telstra Clear Cable
Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) is the buzzword that all the telcos are promising, but what is it really and what does this mean for your business?  The UFB project is defined as delivering a minimum speed of 100 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up over a 10 year period.  For those in a city your current standard broadband is about 10 Mbps up and 0.8 Mbs down.

What has changed for Ripped Orange?

Most of the work we do is in the “Cloud”. This means we download and upload information and documents to the internet frequently. Having faster download speed has not been that noticeable,  but upload, or the time to save documents certainly has.  A major timesaving for us.

Another big change is phone services, we were already using Lync, Skype and 2Talk for communicating.  With faster speed this is now a more reliable and pleasant experience.  The upside for this is that we now use the internet for all phone calls which will reduce our phone costs.

If you are considering a similar move, please get in touch and we would be happy to share some of the learnings' both positive and negative, that we have had along the way.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Ripped Orange Magic Mango Fruit Punch

Looking for a cool drink on Christmas Day? Check out this suggestion from our team member Mark.

Magic Mango Fruit Punch



Simply add:


1 container of NZ Natural Sorbet Mango (946 ml)

1 container of Just Juice Fruit Juice Pineapple & Mango (1 litre)


1 Sprite Soft Drink Lemonade (1.5 litre)


You can throw in some sliced oranges and kiwi fruit for a nice visual affect and added flavour…enjoy!

Ripped Orange Christmas Songs and more...

The team at Ripped Orange have compiled some of our favorite sites and tips for the Christmas season.

Ripped Orange Christmas Playlist

Struggling to find some Christmas Music, the Ripped Orange team have compiled a playlist of our 45 favorite Christmas hits from You Tube. Ideal for the big screen on Christmas Day!

NORAD Tracks Santa

Tired of waiting to track Russian Missiles, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) has also been tracking Santa since 1955.

Visit  to download the smartphone app or check in for live updates from December 24th.

Stuff has a great selection of Christmas themed apps for your smartphone.
You can check them out here

Travelling over Christmas,  the MetService have just updated their site with more video and information, visit

You can also download their smartphone apps

Or if you are too cheep for the $2.95 you can also view their mobile site at

Monday, 26 November 2012

Grab a course launched!

Want to learn a specific feature in Microsoft Office?  Ripped Orange have launched Grab a Course, where we feature a specific course on a specific day at a great price.

This month we launch with Reviewing Documents in Microsoft Word,  for people that collaborate with other users and want to make efficient use of the reviewing tools available.

All courses featured as a Grab a Course are a standard Ripped Orange Classroom course including a manual and hosted in our purpose built training room at Ripped Orange.

What's the catch you ask?

Courses are strictly limited to eight people and are not refundable. They are also limited to two people from the same organisation only.

Tickets can be purchased online with a credit card here.

Book Now!

Eating our own dog food

At Ripped Orange we train on many applications, we also use the tools we train and many more on a daily basis.

Here is a quick overview of some of the applications we use daily. For some applications it’s a bit like a builders house that is never finished, for others we are really happy and have the application adding real value.

File Sharing
Google Drive

Social Media
Office Applications
Office 365
Google Apps

Workflow Max
Marketing and CRM
Microsoft CRM - 2011
Mail Chimp
Survey Monkey
Google Analytics
Google Add Words
2 Talk
Last Pass

The challenge we have is similar to many organisations. How to evaluate what is available and what will suit our needs. For some tools this is easy for others there are a variety of comparisons and trade-offs to be made.  

Sunday, 25 November 2012

City Care makes Smart use of Tender template

Business Overview:

City Care is a leading provider of construction, maintenance and management services across New Zealand's infrastructure and amenity assets, employing over 1,350 staff across 16 operational branches throughout the North and South Islands. Established in 1999, City Care has an annual turnover of approximately $354 million.  City Care is a Council Controlled Trading Organisation (CCTO) operating under the Local Government Act.

Business Issue:
Each year City Care responds to over 150 tenders and requests for information.  To manage this significant business development activity, City Care employs four tender writers who gather and collate information from within the business to complete a tender response.
The tender team identified that they spent a lot of time formatting tender documents and there were inconsistencies in the brand and layout of the final document.
Tenders documents can be very complex and large; often documents are over 100 pages and may have more than ten individual contributors to the document. “Responding to tenders can often be a high pressure task, with short deadlines and considerable detail needed to be provided.  Delays and time taken up in formatting and trying to ensure consistency was frustrating”, says Margot Hall, City Care Business Development Co-ordinator.

City Care approached Ripped Orange to look at options.  One option considered was to provide advanced Microsoft Word training for staff who prepare tenders. After some consideration, it was recognised that this would not address the issue of brand and document consistency.  It was identified that the cost and time to train the users to a very advanced level would be considerable and outweigh the benefits. Instead, Ripped Orange proposed that templates were established and training provided to users on how to use these templates.

Gill Mason from Ripped Orange commented, “Even with advanced users, the Smart Template approach works well as it ensures consistency and speed of document creation”.

City Care commissioned Ripped Orange to undertake a scope of the style and functionality required; this resulted in a base template that included the City Care logo, fonts, icons, and graphic styles.
From this, Ripped Orange then developed specific Smart Templates for tender covers, body copy and other components of a tender.

“Smart templates are designed so users can follow a quick and easy process when inserting and managing the creation and layout of documents.  For example, call out boxes can be inserted with a click of an icon:

The template also handles the time-consuming issues of applying text font, colour and size, headers and footers or switching from portrait to landscape with a click of an icon for the user,” commented Mason.

Call out boxes can be made with a click of a button
“The Smart Templates have allowed City Care to focus on the content in the template rather than worrying about the graphics and layout with the end result being a professional and consistent document”, commented Hall.

Juice Review - Mail Chimp

Like many companies in New Zealand, we use Mail Chimp to distribute our newsletters.  This popular tool has over 2.5 million users worldwide.
Email marketing is a crowded field with many tools and options. We chose Mail Chimp because of its ease of use, clear and sometimes quirky feel.  How many other applications use terms like...

Huzzah! Your campaign has been sent.

People are still engaged with what you're saying - that's good, right?

It even has random messages from the chimp like this one inviting you to view a weird file on You Tube.

While this may seem rather odd, it does make the application easy enjoyable and fun to use. Mail Chimp covers the basics and even more than you would expect from an email marking tool.

Other features we like are the excellent reporting including an Android App and the “Golden Monkey” app to go along with this.

We are still using the free version and it suits us just fine as the subscription version is designed for US companies that are a lot larger than us.

4 Oranges

The most fun and easy to use business tool we have used.

Youth IT Course

For some time we have been aware of a possible “disconnect” between the ICT (computer) skills required in the business sector and those on offer through academic curriculum.

We approached St Andrews and asked if they were interested in testing the theory. Last week we hosted six Year 8 students and helped them explore the more powerful features of Microsoft Word.

Melanie Tobeck and Gill Mason facilitated a course on the powerful and time-saving facilities of Word that many of us overlook in our day to day use of this familiar programme.

We were thrilled how positive, quick to learn and confident the students were.  The students also recognised the time savings that could be achieved allowing them to focus on their content rather than the presentation of their assignments. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Women using IT

Thanks to all the ladies that joined us for our Women using IT workshop, you can read the full article in The Press.

We have had such a great response to the story that we are planning on running some more sessions on the following dates:

12 December 2012

10:30 - 12:30

You can get your own group of eight friends together for $320 or attend individually for $40 each.  Spaces are limited so contact us now to book your seat.  

Please call 03  377 9499 or email

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Juice Tip - Creating handouts in PowerPoint

Do you use the notes view to print handouts in PowerPoint.?

For something more flexible saving the file and creating handouts.  This will export the slides to Word and allow you to format and adjust from there.  Also if you select paste link the slide images will change as you update them in Power Point...

Select file save and create presentation

Select create handouts

The paste link option allows you to refresh the images.

Monday, 1 October 2012

What is “Metro Design” and why you will see more of it

Metro is the term Microsoft uses for the user interface on Windows 8 and other applications.  It is based on a Swiss graphic design style from the 1950’s.

Windows 8 "Metro" Start Screen

King Country Metro Sign
The inspiration for the name Metro came from signs at public transportation systems, including the King Country Metro which is the public transport system in Seattle.

We wonder how many other inspirations came to Microsoft developers while sitting on a bus!

There is however a hitch, Microsoft have stopped calling it Metro as they don't have the trademark, so the working title at the moment is "New User Interface".  

The look may seem familiar as it’s already in use on XBOX live, and is similar to Windows Media Player.  Expect this look to become the standard across all Microsoft products, with Skype already rumoured to be getting a new look.

The Metro style will mean that you use your computer differently, with many of the new features being shown off in some flashy Microsoft videos. 

However don’t be scared off. Once you dig past the flashy interface  Office still looks quite similar, as demonstrated in this video of Office 2013.

The biggest change is that the user interface will be consistent across the desktop, tablet, phone and even the kids Xbox!

So once you have mastered it on one you will be able to easily use it on all your gadgets.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Research Study - Word and Excel

My name is Shirley Gibbs and I am a Lecturer in the Department of Applied Computing at Lincoln University and am also completing my PhD. My research project involves trying to understand the range of computing skills that are required in a workplace and the level of computing skill that people in different jobs have.

In order to establish these things I am planning on conducting a study of  people in the workplace who use Word Processing and Spreadsheet software.

I would appreciate your help in recruiting participants in Christchurch for my study. If you think people in your organisation would be willing to help I would appreciate the opportunity of contacting them. This contact could be made in a variety of different ways:

Please contact Shirley direct

Work Experience at Ripped Orange

This spring we are lucky to have Heather, Amy and Bianca joining us to undertake some work experience as part of their CPIT Studies.

It's great to have them around the office during the week as they work on projects with Sharepoint and Google Apps.

Taking on work experience projects does require an investment of time however there are some great benefits for many organisations.

Lincoln University are doing on Microsoft Word and Excel study that may benefit your organisation.. You can view more information here.

Working from home – the new normal in Christchurch

Work environments have changed a lot in the past few years in Christchurch.  The Ripped Orange team used to be based in Moorehouse Ave but were shaken out in September 2010.  After that we bounced around a few places until we settled into our new home in Brockworth Place.

For those that don’t know Christchurch “The Brock” was student flat capital, however this is changing rapidly.

We are based in a lovely old villa, and while we work from a home it’s not our home which is great because we get the benefits of working from home but don’t have to do the lawns, cleaning or feel isolated.

Spring at the Ripped Orange office

With a few minor modifications we have created an ideal training environment that is quiet and peaceful.  It’s also proving to be a very popular place for meetings, with many local Christchurch businesses booking our rooms. 

If you are looking for a quite peaceful place to hold an offsite staff meeting,  there is more information about The Grove and The Orchard on our website.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Brainstorm and Mind Map Software

Children do Mind mapping at school, why not at work?
Mind Maps have been around for a long time, with kids learning how to produce them at school.  They are great for engaging the creative side of the brain to solve and communicate difficult concepts.

There are plenty of on line tools available to help you construct mind maps.  These tools are great for business, and easier for creating and presenting mind maps than drawing them by hand.

At Ripped Orange we use Mindomo  for communicating our course road map.  It's very quick to make and easy for people to follow. You can check out our road map here

Because it's in the cloud you can also share mind maps between staff,  ideal for creating ideas, course plans and then sharing them for input.   This can be very powerful, and avoids everyone having to have their own set of crayons!

As you would expect, you can use Mindomo on a wide variety of applications,  from desktops, to tablets and smart phones.

The free version allows you to create three maps which is good to get you started, and hooked.  If you get out the credit card you can access a whole range of features including spell check, and the ability to make unlimited maps.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Windows 8 – More than just another upgrade…

October will bring one of the largest changes in Windows history!  Windows 8 is more than just an upgrade from Windows 7 or XP for your desktop.  The same look and feel will run on your desktop, tablet and phone.

Last year more Smartphones were sold than PC’s, and tablet sales are catching up fast.
For Microsoft, having the same look and feel across your desktop, tablet and phone will help them play catch-up in the smartphone and tablet market.

But what does this mean for users that just want to easily use their computer whether a desktop, tablet or phone?  Ideally, it means that once you have mastered Windows 8 it will be easier to do the same on whatever device you are using.  For example, Outlook will look the same, and you can access your documents on all your computers.

However, mastering Windows 8 will take time, both getting used to starting without a “Start” button and realizing the benefit of being able to work across your desktop, phone and tablet with the same documents.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Office 2013

The preview version for Office 2013 is now out..   it’s smoother than 2010 and there are some new features, however the basic navigation is similar. 

This will be released to the market in late October with Windows 8.  It runs on Windows 7, but they say it’s best on Windows 8.

The Ripped Orange team are already trialing the new version, standby for an update on the new features soon.

Office and Sharepoint Apps

Microsoft have launched an Apps Store for Office and Sharepoint.  The video  link below gives you an insight to what they are offering.   Think apps for your phone, but instead for Office.  While they have offered templates that you can download in the past the explosion of phone apps may give this market more credibility and get people thinking about downloading or buying productivity tools.