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Hello.

My name is Marco

| ENTREPRENEUR | BUSINESS | FAMILY | LIFE |

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About

I am an Entreprenuer based in Sydney AUSTRALIA. Below is a snapshot of my life

  • 1978

    Born

    The start of my awesome life. Was born in Baclieu, Vietnam.

  • 1978-1987

    Lived in Malaysia and Italy

    Parents fled Vietnam as refugees a few months after I was born. Our family spent time in Malaysia before being given the opportunity to live in Italy.

  • 1987

    Moved to Australia

    Our family moved to Australia.

  • 1996

    HSC

    Completed Year 12 and was accepted to UTS studying Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) majoring in Telecommunications Engineering

  • 1997

    Love

    Met the love of my life

  • 1998-1999

  • 2002

    Graduation

    Graduated from Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.)

  • 1999-2003

    IT Support Officer @ RTA

    Was originally employed by Unisys for a 3 month contract. It turned out to be a 4 year contract.

  • 2004

    Graduated from Masters

    Completed Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Telecommunications Networks

  • 2003-2004

    Network Project Manager @ RTA

    Project Management of various network project to specify, install, configure and commission new systems and services for the Roads and Traffic Authority

  • 2004-2005

    Senior Network Officer @ ABC

    A technical role to provide support and maintain voice and data network for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

  • 1-2006

    Married

    Married to my beautiful wife Angela.

  • 2005-2006

    Infrastructure and Telecoms Engineer @ Lilly

    Managed the voice, voicemail, data – (routers, switches, VPN, firewalls), fax, teleconferencing, web conferencing, mobile phones, wireless and blackberry services and provided Tier Support for Australia and New Zealand

  • 2-2006

    First company Advertise Me

    Started my first company. Came up with an idea whilst attending a course and soon after launched Advertise Me. Advertise Me is a digital advertising company that primarily focused on the digital signage industry. The company now look at all that is digital. This includes custom tools, mobile applications, advertising so much more. I've learnt so much since the inception of this company. Visit Advertise Me

  • 6-2007

    First Blog Digital Signage Blog

    Since Advertise Me was specialing in the Digital Signage industry, I came across the opportunity to start the Digital Signage Blog where we share our case studies, our thoughts and opinions about the digital signage industry. This is where I started to learn about blogging. Read more

  • 11-2007

    Son

    My son Jayden entered into this world.

  • 8-2011

    Daughter

    My daughter Olivia joined our family. Our OJAM (Olivia Jayden Angela Marco) clan is complete.

  • 5-2012

    Launched Squeak

    Whilst working on a number of projects for Advertise Me we saw an opportunity in the mobile space to create an exciting app that helps consumers shop and find great sales based on their interests. Visit Squeak

  • 9-2012

    Launched StinkyThePig

    Helped started a cool and funky brand called StinkyThePig. I turned a friend's idea into an actual product.

  • 6-2015

    Launched Social Wall

    Our parent company Advertise Me launched a new product and website called Social Wall. The idea with this product started as we saw a need to be able to display social media posts on digital screens. Social Wall is a simple and easy to use tool to aggregate and display social media posts on any digital device. Read more

  • 1-1-2017

    Launched this website

    Decided to start my own personal blog and here we are.

  • 2018-03-01

    Vegan Journey

    Started the Vegan journey. Decided it was time to move from a Vegetarian to a Vegan diet and launched a new website called Veggie Meals

SUMMARY

  • Loves to execute ideas and turn ideas into reality

  • Specialties: Information Technology, Project Management, Digital Apps, Startups, Affiliate Marketing

  • Holds a Masters Degree in Telecommunications Engineering

  • Born in Vietnam, lived in Italy and currently residing in Australia

  • Father of two beautiful children

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PAID $54.99 TO RENEW ONE OF MY DOMAINS

Yes, I paid $54.99 to renew one of my expired domains. I accidentally let the domain lapse and it was all my fault. The email forwards that the domain hosting company sent didn’t reach my main mailbox and even though I had reminders set in my calendar, the domain expired. I suffered because of this. Generally, there is a grace period once the domain expires but in my case it was more than 30 days so I had to pay a premium to redeem the domain otherwise it would have gone to a domain auction and I was pretty sure someone would have snapped it up pretty quick. I had this domain for more than 10 years and I wasn’t going to let it go that easily. I haven’t really done anything with this domain but one day when I have a bit of time I’ll try to monetise it and easily make my money back. I previously wrote an article on the Business Legions Blog called “Never Let Your Domain Expire” and it’s so strange that it happened to me again. Lesson learnt!

Marco Tran - PAID $54.99 TO RENEW ONE OF MY DOMAINS

TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID HAVING YOUR DOMAINS EXPIRE

Here are a few ways to avoid this:

  • set your domain to auto-renew – you need to make sure you find a domain hosting provider that doesn’t rip you off when it comes to renewal costs. I’ve been switching between Alibaba Cloud, CrazyDomains and GoDaddy
  • add each of your domain in your calendar and make sure you set an alert or reminder at different periods before the domain expires. I generally set it to alert a month, week and day before the domain expires
  • add to domain to a monitoring tool and if the domain goes down it will send you an alert and you can investigate whether there is an issue with the hosting provider or if your domain has expired

Hope these helped and have you ever been in this same situation? What did you do?

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SYNCHING SAMSUNG HEALTH TO STRAVA

SYNCHING SAMSUNG HEALTH TO STRAVA

I’m not sure if this is the best way to Synch your runs from Samsung Health (I use a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier) to Strava but it seemed to have worked. I was originally synching the data between Google Fit and Strava since the runs synched between Google Fit and Samsung Health but there were issues with this setup.

Synching Samsung Health to Strava

Here’s what I needed to do:

  • Open up the Samsung Health app on the phone
  • Press on the Setting button (3 white dots near the top right hand side)

Synching Samsung Health to Strava

  • Select Connected Services

Synching Samsung Health to Strava

  • Select Strava

Synching Samsung Health to Strava

  • You will need to allow the permissions on Strava to allow

I find that sometimes I needed to open the Samsung Health app and refresh the stats (pull down) to refresh the data from the Samsung Gear S3 in order for it to push to Strava. Hopefully, this worked for you as well and keep pushing with your fitness and health goals. Good luck!

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PHOTO EDITOR SOFTWARE THAT GIVES THE WOW FACTOR

Marco Tran - PHOTO EDITOR SOFTWARE THAT GIVES THE WOW FACTOR

I just started using a software tool called Luminar to edit and make photos look “AWESOME”. It can be used for both Windows and macOS and I just wanted to share with you what it can do, especially the AI image enhancer. With this filter it just simply makes the images look so much better and all I needed to do was open the image, press AI Image Enhancer and that it.

So previously on my website, the background image looked like this:

marcotran-homepage-background

I really liked this image and thought it would look really great on this website. The water and the sky looked amazing… but when I used Luminar my jaws dropped. By simply using the AI Image Enhancer the photo went from amazing to Super Duper amazing (you know what I mean!). Check this out:

Marco Tran homepage background

Everything looked sharper and brighter – it just looks so professional! Do you agree?

Here’s a screenshot of the actual software package using the Before and After view as you can see there is a big difference:

Marco Tran - Luminar Photo Editing - Before and After Background

This is how it looked like after using the AI Image Enhancer (there are other filters but I decided to use the AI one)

Marco Tran - Luminar Photo Editing - After Background

If you want to try it out, they have a Free trial and at the moment they also have a lifetime license where you can get future updates for free.

Marco Tran Luminar 3 Photo Editing Software

NOTE: Affiliate compensated.

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CONFIGURING THE CISCO ASA

Marco Tran - CONFIGURING THE CISCO ASA

I recently had to set up the Cisco ASA (Adaptive Security Appliance) 5505 for our office and this brought back fond memories of when I was working for the Australia Broadcasting Corporation migrating vendors using Site to Site VPNs and the whole of the ABC staff from the Cisco VPN Concentrator 3000 to the Cisco ASA’s. It was a complex and tough project but in the end, I did manage to configure the Cisco ASA in failover mode and migrated all the vendors and staff.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA 5505

Setting up the office one was much easier, but I initially thought it would be a bit of a challenge when I didn’t touch a Cisco device in over 5 years. We were previously using a TP-LINK router that supported Site to Site VPNs but because one of our clients required IKEV2, the existing router didn’t support it. After some research, the Cisco ASAs were one of the only few devices that supported this version of IKE. We were lucky enough to purchase the refurbished Cisco ASA 5505 from eBay at a very low price. Even though it’s an EOL product, it was good enough to do the job.

In summary, this was the process I followed:

  • find a Console Cable and USB to Serial adaptor cable(after going through my cable stash, I found my old USB to Serial cable)
  • setup local LAN connectivity
  • enable ssh and ASDM
  • disable the VPN tunnel from TP-LINK router
  • use ASDM VPN Wizard to create the VPN existing tunnels (still using IKEV1)
  •  test the VPN tunnels and if it’s all working then add the new IKEV2 VPN tunnel
  • check to make sure I could connect to all remote hosts
  • enable VPN AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client
  • allow remote access to the VPN and local office network via AnyConnect users
  • test connections to remote hosts

One other important task was to create a quick network diagram which helped me to understand the overall setup and configuration. Here’s the diagram that I created using Google Slides (I changed the IP addresses). Back in the day, I would have created this network diagram using Visio and it would look very professional.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup

I won’t go through the whole configuration of the Cisco ASA but I want to note some points and stumbling blocks I experienced:

CISCO ASDM

To use the Cisco ASDM, I needed to add the following configuration:

http server enable

http [ip to alllow] [interface]

I also needed to install the latest version of Java as per below on a Windows 10.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup ASDM Java

Without the correct Java version, ASDM and the Java Web Start application wouldn’t load.

CREATING SITE TO SITE VPN

It’s quicker to use the ASDM VPN Wizard to generate the config and clean up the config after it’s generated.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup LAN2LAN

Just make sure you have the correct NATs configured. The ASDM does allow you to select which version of IKE to use for each VPN Tunnel.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup Site to Site IKE version

CISCO ANYCONNECT

Once again, use Cisco ASDM to configure the AnyConnect VPN. You will need to set up a DHCP pool for the AnyConnect clients. The other thing I had to do was to use the command:

same-security-traffic permit intra-interface

This allowed the clients on the AnyConnect network on the outside interface to route to traffic on the same interface e.g VPN tunnels and devices on the same network as the outside interface.

I also had to download a later version of the AnyConnect Client from the Internet (used Google to search a later version than the one that was stored on the ASA).

Block connections on untrusted server

Since I used the self-signing certificates,  the ASA becomes an untrusted server when trying to connect.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA AnyConnect Blocked

To resolve this issue, just open up the preferences tab and deselect Block connections to untrusted servers

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup AnyConnect Block Untrusted

You will also receive Security Warning issues but just hit the Connect Anyway

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup AnyConnect Block Security Warning Message

Once connected you will see a Green tick on the padlock

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup AnyConnect Connection Connected

 

 

 

Split Tunnelling

I also configured Split Tunnelling which allowed specific traffic I wanted to route to the VPN. For example the remote VPN tunnels, devices on the outside network. All other traffic such as Internet traffic, I didn’t want to route via the VPN. Just go to the AnyConnect Group policy and under Advanced click on Split Tunnelling. In the Policy section select “Tunnel Network List Below” and in the Network List create the networks you want to route via the AnyConnect VPN tunnel.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup AnyConnect

In the AnyConnect client software, you can also confirm and check the routes by clicking on the Settings button then Route Details

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup AnyConnect Routes

Also, to access the Cisco ASDM Java after enabling AnyConnect, you need to use https://[IP Address of ASA]/admin as https://[IP Address of ASA]/ is used for the AnyConnect HTML Login

NAT AnyConnect network with the outside interface

Without this, I wasn’t able to route traffic from the AnyConnect traffic out to specific hosts that I wanted to route traffic to the Internet via the AnyConnect VPN.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup AnyConnect NAT Outside

NAT on Router

Add firewall rules for port 80 and 443 on the TP-LINK router to allow the AnyConnect clients to route to the Cisco ASA

ROUTING FROM TP-LINK TO ASA

The other configuration I needed to do was to add the VPN and AnyConnect network on the TP-LINK router. This also allowed the outside network to route to VPN networks instead of the default gateway (Internet).

That’s about it. After a days worth of work, I managed to get it all working.

Marco Tran - Cisco ASA setup AnyConnect Block VPN Connections

When it comes to networking and troubleshooting, what I found really helpful is to simulate how the packet transfer through each device and figure out how you’re going to get from source IP to destination IP.

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HOW TO FIX HONDA CRV ERROR CODE P2646

HOW TO FIX HONDA CRV ERROR CODE P2646

Panic strikes whenever you see the engine light flash on the dashboard and this happened to us the other day.  It was unfortunate it happened a few days before we wanted to use the car to drive interstate.  The most recent thing that was done, was my father-in-law cleaned the top of the engine with WD40 (that’s what he claimed after discovering dry droplets of water on the engine bay and noticed how clean it was). I can’t honestly say that it was this that caused the problem or that he is to blame but it did seem very coincidental

Now when the engine light goes on, it means that there is an error code in the ECU and you need to find out what it is to troubleshoot the problem. So the lights that went on after you start the engine were the Engine Light, The VSA light and the Triangle Light. When you drive the car the light that will remain on would be the orange engine light. Yes, it was also a hot day!

Honda CRV 2018 Error Lights Engine Light VSA light Triangle Light

To get the Error code from the car you would need to either go to the Mechanic (they charge $20 – $50 use their “special machine” to read the code) or you can buy an ODB reader and use a mobile phone app to get the code. I have my own ODB reader so I used the second method. The ODB reader was purchased from eBay for only around $10 so it’s worth it or you can get one from Amazon.

It looks like this:

Honda CRV ODB reader

You plug this in the ECU port under the steering wheel:

Honda CRV ODB reader connected

You then need to pair the ODB with your mobile phone and install an app to read the code. The apps that I ended up using is called Torque Lite and Car Scanner ELM ODB2. They both did the job in reading the code. I’ve had the ODB for a while now and just used it to see what information I could obtain from the ECU but this time I needed to get the code and it was pretty straight forward. Just start the app (screenshots from Torque Lite) and select Fault Codes:

Honda CRV Error Code

The error code that was reported was P2646:

Honda CRV Error Code P2646

After some investigation and researching the error code translated to “Rocker Arm Oil Pressure Switch Circuit Low Voltage”. People in different forums mentioned about replacing the Oil Pressure switch which is located at the back of the engine. I decided to just give it a clean (since it might have just short-circuited from the WD40″. This is the location of the oil pressure switch:

Honda CRV 2008 Oil Pressure Switch

There are two electrical cables that need to be disconnected (it’s possible all I needed to do was to disconnect these cables and give them a clean but cannot confirm if that would solve the problem). I just went ahead and removed the switch and cleaned it. Honda CRV 2008 Oil Pressure Switch 2

Note, I didn’t actually removed the switch as I didn’t want to disconnect/cut the white cable tie (see below), I left the switch hanging after removing x3 10mm socket bolts. They are located here:

Honda CRV 2008 Oil Pressure Switch Bolts

The other thing to note is that since there isn’t much space behind the engine putting the 3 bolts back was very time-consuming. It took me more than half an hour trying to put it back because I couldn’t align the 3 bolts. It was a matter of just guessing where to put the bolt and then tighten it.

After putting the switch back, I reset the ECU by disconnecting the battery cable for about 10-15 minutes. After reconnecting and turning the engine on, the problem was fixed. Hopefully this helps someone out there and good luck.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a mechanic so what might have worked for me might not work for you!

 

 

 

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CHEAPEST CAR INSURANCE I FOUND – HUDDLE INSURANCE

Let me start off by saying – always compare prices before handing your money over. This has been one of my motto since I was young. Having no money to buy food from the canteen or buying/asking for toys moulded me to become like this and to be honest I'm grateful for having experienced this because now I value money.

I needed to renew my Car Insurance insurance and decided to do a quick comparison before my policy renewed automatically (always set reminders to take action). I came across a car insurance company called Huddle.

After getting a quote for my Honda car I was quoted $522.48 for insuring my car at an agreed value of $7,200 and the basic excess was $800 for fixed 8000 km. I basically saved $200 dollars.

The car doesn't get driven every day hence the reason why I only covered it for 8000 km. So you might be asking yourself what happens if I go over? If you make a claim after your 8000 km you will have to fork out an additional $1000 on top of the excess – basically you're still covered.

I also used a coupon code which gives you a credit for $50 after your policy has been active for 30 days. You can use the code:

MARCOT16

and we'll both get a $50 credit. Just make sure you add it in the coupon section on the online form.

If you find something cheaper please let me know.

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Portfolio

Veggie Meals


vegan, vegetarian, websites

Veggie Meals

Launcher Dock


products, websites

Launcher Dock

Social Wall


products, websites

Social Wall
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ePosters is an extension of one of our products specifically built to display interactive posters such as Scientific posters. The system can also be used for displaying directory and poster information that uses touchscreen interactions.

eposters Interactive Digital Posters

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Veggie Meals is a Vegan and Vegetarian Community website where we aim to promote Veganism and Vegetarianism. Our vision and goal for veggiemeals.com.au is to create a hub to discuss, share and obtain information about vegetarianism or veganism. Veggie Meals aims to promote recipes, businesses, products and conduct discussions relating to Vegans and Vegetarians.
Being proud Vegetarians and Vegans, we want you to join us on this journey and promote your business with the rest of the Vegetarian and Vegan community.

VEGGIE MEALS

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Launcher Dock is a free Windows based software tool that allows you to automatically start your programs and dock them exactly where you want on the screen. I had someone develop this for me as I saw a need to use a simple and effective tool to launch different programs I regularly use on multiple screens. At my office, my laptop is connected to two additional screens so in total I have 3 screens. Every time I started the laptop, I found it a hassle to launch and dock each application on the screens so that’s where Launcher Dock was born. It is a free software tool and I don’t really monetise it except for receiving donations and Google advertising but my main goal was not to make money from this – learning the process to build and launch a Windows Software tool was more important.

As of 2017, the application has been downloaded more than 10k times and I haven’t really updated the software. I’ve had offers to monetize the software by placing ads in the software but I never wanted that. Maybe I’ll eventually sell the site to someone who can update it and manage it. If you’re interested let me know.

DOWNLOAD AND THE VISIT WEBSITE

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Sponsor My Articles

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The Sponsor My Articles WordPress plugin was the by-product of many years of managing the DigitalSignageBlog.com website. Being the chief editor, I saw the opportunity to try to further monetise the website by creating a WordPress plugin that allowed businesses to sponsor the articles I wrote. Originally, the requirements were quite simple:

– Set the amount to charge for each sponsor

– Limit the number of sponsors to display on each article

– Limit which categories to exclude from being sponsored. This was needed as some articles were guest posts and I didn’t want competitors to sponsor those articles

– Integrate with PayPal to receive payments

– Option to enable captcha to prevent spam

There was two version we released, the free and the paid version. The intention of releasing a free version was to generate some exposure since it displayed our company details on all posts by default.

A year after launching the plugin, we had a number of requests to add features to the product. One of the most requested features was to add a time-based sponsorship, so a post can be only sponsored for a period of time set by the administrator of the website. The addition of this feature helped increase sales and allowed website owners to generate recurring income.

At the beginning of this year, I then decided to add a few more features and these were:

– Option to use shortcodes which can be placed anywhere in a post
– Option to choose Sponsor Section position, Top, Bottom or Shortcode only (meaning it will only be displayed if there is a shortcode present)
– Option to use custom types. The Sponsor section can be now located in any custom post type

I hope to further increase sales with these features and create more useful content for our users. If you want to purchase this plugin then click here.

 

 

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Social Wall

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Social Wall simply started as an idea whilst we were working on a Video Wall installation. The idea was to create a tool so businesses could aggregate and display all your social media posts on a digital wall. At the time, there were already a few companies selling this type of product and we saw the cost of using their product and services to be unaffordable for many businesses. We needed something very simple and one that was cost effective – that’s when Social Wall was born.

The first beta version of the tool was simple – it didn’t even have a login page or dashboard, but we decided to test the market and sure enough there were clients who were interested in using this product.

It took us about 6-9 months to get a fully functional system developed that allowed users to log in and manage their own Social Wall – yes it included a dashboard. I also had to spend a bit of time creating the actual website to promote the product. I find creating digital content to be one of the most difficult tasks in marketing. As the saying goes “Content is King” and to a certain extent I do agree with this statement, however this can be debated back and forth. Although time-consuming, creating content is all worth it in the end and it’s also one of the reasons why I continue to keep adding content whenever I can.

I’ll summarise some of my content strategies:

* Write helpful content – HOW TO articles are a great way to connect with your audience and make them feel as though they solved their problem by reading your article

* Create videos – I find some people would rather watch a video than read a long article with instructions. Creating videos not only makes the experience more visual but you can reach a wide audience if submitted to video platforms such as YouTube

* Create tools to supplement your product – I learnt how to code and actually built tools to help promote the product. They were very simple tools and the main purpose was to add them to existing plaforms such as the WordPress Plugin Directory, iTunes and Google Play which had a very large audience – another great way to generate more exposure

We officially launched Social Wall in June 2015. Since then, we have added more features to the product and our client base has also grown. We receive enquiries from all over the world on a daily basis and we can see lots of potential with this product.

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Advertise Me

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The first company I started. Learnt so much since the launch of this company. Had no clue about starting a business so it was definitely difficult at the start.

Advertise Me provides digital solutions to large corporate companies, hospitals, retail stores, schools and universities.

Clients include: Campbelltown Hospital, Liverpool Hospital, Thredbo, University of NSW, University of Newcastle, Sherwood Public School, Curtin University, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and many more.

VISIT WEBSITE

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Leave me a comment and I will respond ASAP
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E-Mail

hi@marcotran.com.au

Address

Sydney AUSTRALIA

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