CIH Google Sheets and Blog Quiz

Congratulations to the two teams that achieved the highest scores at the Whangarei Hui in the CIH Google Sheet Quiz.  As explained at the hui, the purpose of the quiz was to provide a checklist of the “rules” for entering data into the CIH google sheets.  I want to make sure that every keeps a copy of these “rules” on hand when they are working with the google sheets.  You can find it here whenever you need it.

CIH Internet Connections: Performance Standards

At the Whangarei NCCG Hui in August 2016, we discussed the performance standards for internet connections.  Some important amendments were suggested:

  1. While UFB remains our “first choice” connection in areas where it is available, it is recognised that this mightn’t be the most suitable for families who are highly mobile;  a DSL connection can be moved from premises to premises much more easily and is a better solution for families who are unlikely to stay in the same house for 12 months.
  2. The internet sign-up form needs to be updated so that it can be used for all programme participants and not just families requesting a connection with 2degrees;
  3. The performance standard for internet connections should be “within 3 weeks of the first payment being received”.

These changes have now been incorporated into Version 2 of the Performance Standard document.

CIH invoice processing from 1 September 2016

As discussed at our Whangarei Hui, we will be implementing new invoice processing arrangements for CIH and other 2020 projects from 1 September 2016.

  1. Coordinators and other 2020 personnel who are authorised to spend project funds must sign all invoices from service providers and contractors such as trainers and technicians relating to work they have commissioned.  Signing the invoice is confirmation that the details are correct and that the service has been provided.
  2. Coordinators must ensure that there is adequate information on each invoice to ensure the expenses can be correctly coded and entered to Xero by the Wellington office.  This includes the type of expense (e.g. computers, training, travel, etc.)as well as the project, selected from the following list:
    • CIH 2014-15
    • CIH 2015-16
    • CIH 2016-17
    • Stepping UP
    • ICDL Commercial
    • KiwiSkills Jobseeker
    • Refugee 2015-16
    • Refugee 2016-17
  3. Invoices and attached receipts for expense claims must then be scanned and sent to
  4. Invoices will be coded by the Wellington office, entered to Xero and paid. This is a significant change, as Coordinators no longer need to enter invoices to Xero.
  5. Note this applies to all coordinator invoices as well as those from other contractors.

Upgrading to Windows 10

As discussed at our Whangarei Hui, Microsoft has extended the MARS licence for Computers in Homes to include Windows 10.  This means we can now move towards providing families with Windows 10 operating systems.  It is important that families are trained on equipment with the same software (operating system and application software) as that is on their take-home computers.  The Stepping UP modules used for Computers in Homes training will be progressively updated for Windows 10, but this should not be a deterrent in making the move from Windows 7.  Trainers are expected to be able to use the Windows 7 material as a guide in the meantime and explain the differences for Windows 10.

Families already in training

These families will already be using Windows 7 and therefore should be provided with Windows 7 computers when they complete their training.

Training being provided at a new hub

Hub equipment with a Windows 10 image should be purchased for the new hub as well as for families when they complete training.

Training being provided at an existing school hub

Schools already have access to Microsoft software under a centralised agreement with the Ministry of Education.  We would expect that schools are already considering upgrading to Windows 10 if they haven’t already done so.  Check the situation with the school training hub before starting training.

Training being provided at a community hub

We can offer to assist the community hub upgrade their computers to Windows 10 before training starts.

  1. Contact Jackie Lawrence at Conbrio/The Ark with an order for the number of Windows 10 licences required.
  2. Jackie will send a custom laptop, a switch and the licences.
  3. The community hub then plugs in all the existing computers at the hub that they want to upgrade to the switch (just replace the existing switch temporarily)
  4. Plug the laptop into the switch and then, using the second network port on the switch, plug into the internet connection (this is needed for management as the upgrade files are all on the laptop).
  5. Turn on the laptop and then turn on the PC’s.
  6. The new install will happen automatically, including appropriate drivers and the standard CIH image.
  7. When finished activate Windows and Office and create the recovery partition provided with all CIH computers.
  8. Provide the necessary licence information to Jackie at Conbrio for her to advise Microsoft.
  9. Box up all the bits (laptop and switch) and courier to the next site (as instructed by Jackie)

New look for 2016-17 Google Sheets

Over the next few days, coordinators will notice a change in their 2016-17 google sheet. Following suggestions from Christina and Kristina, I have given the 2016-17 google sheet a thorough over-haul, removing unused fields and grouping data elements to make things more accessible for coordinators.  If you want a sneak preview, take a look at Auckland East, although a few other regions have already been migrated.  You will not need to adjust any data that has already been entered, as this will automatically be moved to the new locations.  Greyed columns and lines contain formulae or fixed data (such as family numbers) and must not be overwritten.  Otherwise I think you will find the new sheets a delight to work with (that might be overstating things a bit, but I am sure you will quickly get what I mean).

Just a couple of ‘traps’ to watch out for:

  1. Reds, oranges and yellows remain and are conveniently summarised in the first few columns.  If you think the count is wrong, you can change the number in cell A2 (e.g. from 1 to 2) and this will initiative a colour count update.
  2. Temporary Notes (column F) is for exactly what it says (temporary notes); these should only be a short ‘aide memoire’ that should be deleted when no longer required; longer notes that you would like preserved are welcome in column BF.  The reason will be obvious to most of you who like to write screeds of notes – this quickly expands to the field to a point where the sheet becomes very hard to use.
  3. Do not enter the family email in column N; this is mirrored from column AO.
  4. You no longer need to enter the family contribution Payment Amount (column S), as this is determined by the AP Frequency (column R).  Weekly = $10; Fortnightly = $20, Monthly = $40
  5. All the family contacts details have been moved towards the end of each sheet; these fields will be populated from the online registration forms.

As always, constructive feedback is welcome, but there is a lot of effort involved in updating and checking the sheets, so we can’t promise to accommodate all suggestions immediately.

More on Internet Subsidies for families with existing telephone connections

A question has been raised about which telephone service providers will accept monthly contributions towards the cost of an internet package.  To date we have arrangements with the following providers:

  • Slingshot
  • Spark
  • Vodafone
  • Trustpower
  • 2degrees
  • NOW
  • Primo

We are happy to pursue a similar arrangement with other telephone providers, but coordinators need to be aware that not every provider will accept automatic direct debit top-ups (typically pre-pay providers).  So before any promises are made, please check in with the national team to ensure this is an option.

2020 BYOD Pilot not to be extended

The 2020 Trustees decided at their meeting on 28 July 2016 not to extend the Trust’s BYOD pilot when the current programme comes to an end in early 2017.  Some of the factors influencing this decision were:

  • operational and financial risks
  • processes for handling bad debts
  • more schools now have access to BYOD schemes

A report is to be published on the lessons learned.

Windows 10 now available for MARS

Brian Lawrence at Conbrio advised me today that Microsoft has now included Windows 10 in the MARS (Microsoft’s Authorised Refurbisher Scheme) licencing programme, which means we can now plan to migrate our standard Computers in Homes image from Windows 7 to Windows 10.   Sue Kini is taking a look at what this might mean for the Stepping UP modules that we use for Computers in Homes training and will report on this at our NCCG in Whangarei.  I am proposing that we ask our refurbishers to start supplying computers with the new image from the start of September, but we will hold off on a firm decision until we meet in Whangarei.

Blogging hints

Kia ora

Some time ago I sent these hints (below) out in an email, and I’ve since been asked to put them on the support blog for ease of access. They are also included in the new 2020 Blog Editors Guide, a living document were we can collect similar hints and good practices. This is at

You may well get automatic emails about Google Drive permissions being granted/removed over the next few weeks, as I check out & test hopefully easier ways of making sure people can access everything they need.  I’ll try to minimise these emails – let me know if you can’t access anything you need, otherwise ignore them!


Bill Dashfield

Problems with photo slideshows

Slideshows are a great way of easily putting lots of photos into your blog. But security changes in Google’s Blogger, Adobe and browsers, are stopping PhotoPeach slideshows working on some browsers and devices.  And Google are dropping Picasa(which they own). 

It’s easy to create slideshows as a video in YouTube, and very easy add them to your blog. Google owns both YouTube and Blogger, so problems are not likely, at least in the short term.  In a few minutes, I made a sample slideshow, which worked on everything I’ve tested – though slow to load on smartphone.

I found it easy to start an upload of multiple photos from my computer.  The uploading took some time, then it was easy to reorder them and turn into a video slideshow.  Lots of options are possible; I recommend you keep it simple and go for:

  • Slide duration of 4 or 5 seconds – 3 seems a bit fast
  • No slide effects and simple transitions: wipes or fades
  • Either no audio, or at least something not likely to offend people!
  • Image sizes of at least 100KB – some of mine were only 60KB and look grainy on full screen.

How to: Creating a slideshow in YouTube:

Adding YouTube video to Blog entry:

Addition: If you want to to add an actual Google Slideshow, you need to save the slideshow for the web and then copy and paste the embed code into your blog. Details are here:

Care with copyright (updated)

(Since this was posted we’ve decided we can be more relaxed about reproducing articles.)

It’s great if you can get the local paper/website/school newsletter/blogger to write a story about CiH, and given a new angle many will be keen to do this. There’s then a great opportunity to post the story or pictures for your blog.  However, you do need to ask them for permission. If you acknowledge their copyright, attribute the article and photos and link to their website, most will have no objection – it’s free publicity for them. 

Just send the paper’s writer, news or editorial contact an email along the lines of:

“Thank you for your article ‘article headline’ about our project name published in ‘paper’s name’ on ‘date’. It was great to see your support for our work, and thank you for the publicity.

I plan to post/have posted your story on our local project blog at blog address,  with full attribution and a link to your paper: ‘Story and pictures by writers name, copyright paper’s name, read more here.  Please let me know if there is any problem with me doing this or if you have any guidelines I should follow.

Thank you, and thanks again for the article.

Best regards

Then publish the post so they can see it. If you don’t hear back, you can assume they had no objection, but do promptly edit or remove the blog post if you hear from them later.  If they refuse permission – or have refused permission before – it is accepted practice to report that they’ve done the story, with attribution, brief details of some key points in your own words and a link.  Something like:

Paper’s name says Computers in Homes is great

Writers name  of paper said in an article on date that ……

She reported that ……………………… and that someone else said …………………………

Read the full story in Paper

You can use a similar approach with other copyright material:  Attribute, summarise and link.

More hints in

Keep it fresh

People need to see the blog is being regularly updated – at least monthly – or they won’t come back. As well as graduations, if you also post at the start of term (for instance, local plans or schools involved) and middle of term (e.g. progress report, relevant news item or online resource) that’ll painlessly cover off the minimum and only take a few minutes.  Put it in your end of month to do list.  

And if you get a great story that should go nationwide, put it online asap and email me as well please.


Bill Dashfield

Updates to the CIH online Family Registration Form


Thanks for the feedback from the Coordinators who have started to use the online registration form – 5 regions are now using this and have provided useful feedback on the design of this form.  As a result, we have made some improvements:

  • a tick box for the $50 commitment
  • a signature field
  • adding validation for phone number formatting
  • fixing a glitch with email address validation
  • adding a couple of omitted fields (Child 4 & 5 DOB)

The process currently is:

  • participants complete a paper-based version of the registration form which includes their time preferences for training
  • when accepted onto the programme participants (or the coordinator) transfer this information into the online registration form (this should happen on the first night of training)
  • the google form populates a secure google doc and selected fields are then transferred manually to the main Computers in Homes MOE 2016-17 google sheets ( we are using a manual process at this stage but this may be automated in the future)

Please note:

  • There may be a day or two between participants entering their info and it being available in  the main Computers in Homes MOE 2016-17 sheet
  • The form is for new Families starting with CiH. Once the data is entered and transferred to the main google sheets, all updates should be carried out in the main google doc
  • We have discovered that families who enter the data themselves may not take a lot of care in terms of capitalising their names or street names, so coordinators will need to review the data once it appears in the main google sheets and make any corrections.
  • Date format: the form takes the date and time format from the computer & browser used with the form.  Our preference is dd mmm yyyy e.g. 29 Jul 2008 or dd/mm/yyyy.  If you see other formats e.g. American mm/dd/yyyy 07/29/2008 it is because the training computer Languages and Regions has not been set to NZ. Unfortunately we can’t use the form to force our preferred format – but it’s an opportunity to get the PCs used by participants set to NZ time!