We held our annual Holiday Meetup at Dave & Buster’s on Friday, December 15. There are no notes from the meeting – we simply chatted and networked freeform this month. Below are some pics from our annual ski-ball contest for your enjoyment!
There is no meetup in January. Our next meetup will be Wednesday, Feb. 7 at Grow Pittsburgh from 8:30 – 10 am. Join our group on Meetup.com to easily RSVP and receive meeting reminders.
Happy holidays to all! See you in 2018!!
The winners of this month’s prize giveaways!
We met at ACHIEVA for the last time this year. Thank you again to Nicole and the ACHIEVA staff for hosting us!
Our meeting in December will be the annual holiday party at Dave & Buster’s at the Waterfront on Friday, December 8 from 1-4 pm. We will have our regular meeting over lunch (everyone orders off the menu and pays individually this time), then do a “techie white elephant” gift exchange (bring a geeky wrapped gift under $10, feel free to look for odd stuff in your tech closet to wrap) and then we’ll play a few games including our annual skee-ball tourney (Cindy will bring a few prizes for the winners).
The reminder email will go out next week, so keep an eye out and RSVP for the meeting on the Bayer Center’s website or on Meetup.com when you see it.
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:
On-Premise vs. Cloud Server
Data Analysis Software
Coax to Fiber
- Coax (for example, like Comcast) – speeds are never consistent, disconnects frequently in high usage
- Coax providers tell you the minimum speed they provide, fiber providers tell you the maximum speed they provide
- Coax is generally faster, but there are many things that can affect speed
- Verizon and DQE also have fiber
- DQE owns the fiber lines
- Check packet shaping on routers/prioritize traffic to keep more important going
- Check into Level 3 Communications (owns the Pittsburgh backbone)
- Click Dimensions – mass email marketing tool that connects to MS Dynamics 365 CRM
- Ask about 30 day trial
- Want to be able to connect to database
- Email templates
NTEN Tech Accelerate
Remote IT Management
We had a great meetup at ACHIEVA earlier this month! Thank you to Nicole and the staff there for hosting us!
Our next meeting is in the same location on Wednesday, November 1, 8:30 – 10 am. Be sure to also mark your calendar for the December B&B Holiday
Party Meetup at Dave & Busters on Friday, December 8 from 1 – 4 pm. Lunch meeting, followed by a Techie White Elephant gift exchange, then some gaming, including our annual skee-ball contest!
Here are the notes and resources from this month:
When IT is kept out of the loop
- Sometimes tech staff are deliberately or inadvertently kept out of the loop on IT-related decisions (example: when HR staff choose a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) and don’t involve tech staff)
- One theory is that IT represents a large expense in an organization and not involving tech staff keeps costs down.
- Another theory is it simply boils down to organizational politics.
Why should passwords be changed frequently?
- Is every 90 days too often?
- The network admins in our group don’t think so.
- Financial auditors will actually recommend changing passwords more frequently, such as every 60 days.
Can you over-customize a database?
- Ask yourself, is the database overly complex because it needs to be or is it because business processes are overly complicated and affecting workflows in the database accordingly.
- An interesting exercise – think about what CRM you would go with if yours blew up tomorrow and was permanently un-usable.
- Fractured systems are the worst thing of all to deal with.
Software resources mentioned
- Paycom – newer company doing HRIS/payroll software.
- Mass email tools:
- Vertical Response – good nonprofit rates (first 10K emails per month are free) but gets blacklisted a lot.
- Constant Contact – costs more per month, but does have nonprofit pricing. Get a discount for paying for the whole year in advance. Doesn’t get blacklisted as often. Integrates with Salesforce, including the new Lightning interface.
- MailChimp – good and not too expensive. Doesn’t get blacklisted as often. Does not integrate well with Salesforce Lightning interface.
- Emma – possibly most costly of all, but also has the most features for marketing and fundraising included.
- Google Groups – not necessarily a mass email tool, but can do group messaging with it.
- Click Dimensions – works with MS Dynamics CRM in particular.
About the Meetup
This was our last visit to Jewish Residential Services for this year. (A big thank you to Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us!!) Next month, we will be back at ACHIEVA in the South Side on Oct. 4.
If you’ve not signed up for the 2017 TechNow conference yet, be sure to do it within the next 2 weeks, before the price goes up! www.technowconference.org
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:
Expense report software
- Concur – $1,000/month; need web connector
- Expensify – cannot bill against grants, but does have a QuickBooks connector available; $9/user/month
- Lots of people are still processing expense reports via spreadsheets
- Unit4 – variety of functions, payroll, expenses, etc.
- ADP – has an expense report module called RUN
- MITC tracks payroll and HR related items
Phone conferencing/bridge tools
- One attendee looking at Zoom; less expensive than GotoMeeting; saves meetings to the cloud; price based on # of participants
- Skype is another option, but sometimes board and staff struggle with using it
- WebEx – similar package; stores all meetings so anyone can login and view them
- Recommend regardless of software choice – set up some “practice” meetings prior to any important meetings (like staff or board meetings) to let people join the online meeting and work out tech bugs, get accustomed to the interface, etc.
- Another recommendation is to mute participants on really large meetings so less background noise.
Rolling Out a New Database
- Training is crucial
- Walkthough all aspects of the database
- In the first training session, go over the basics; then go deeper in subsequent sessions
- List of procedures is a good idea – someone said “list the chapters of the book you’re going to write” meaning at least establish the headings you will need for your training/documentation/manual
- Roll out training to power users first
- Consider who will be doing the training – not everyone is a trainer, even if they are savvy about the software
- Have trainees help write the user manual
- Build the training manual as if the person reading it know nothing about the software
- For Salesforce in particular, you can set up a practice sandbox that is a replica of the exact real database
Billing to Allegheny County
- An interest was expressed by multiple people for batch billing software that works with Allegheny County’s billing system
- None exists that anyone can think of
Google for Nonprofits
…we met at Jewish Residential Services in the Rodef Shalom Congregation building. A big “thank you” to Paula and the JRS team for hosting us!!
We will meet there once again on Wednesday, September 6 from 8:30 – 10 am. See the sidebar to the right for ways to register.
Here are the topics and resources discussed during this month’s meeting:
- CRM for Nonprofits (Constituent/Client/Customer Relationship Management)
- Sharing Documents with People External to Your Organization
- Salesforce Resources
- Migrating to Google Drive
- Outlook + Sharepoint Desktop Version vs. 365
- Permissions have been a persistent issue for some
- Training is a constant issue
- User acceptance can be slow
- 365 is more difficult to understand – the cloud and file sharing aspects of it
- Files get saved over if don’t change file names from version to version
- Can embed a Google Calendar inside of Sharepoint
- Are we pushing older workers out by all these upgrades in tech?
- What about outsourcing to the cloud completely?
- Internet bandwidth must be sufficient to do true virtualization
- Off-site hosting is more $ for service, less $ for backups, maintenance, licensing
- JENLOR is one local company that does virtualization
- Office 365 is on TechSoup
- LaserJet 401 Troubleshooting
- Old printer, but hates to get rid of it because has been a workhorse till now
- Won’t print graphics, only text
- Maybe is an issue with Windows security?
- Perhaps an issue with a recent Windows update?
- Where to e-cycle if decide to ditch it?
- Listserv Usage
- Reminds us of VCR tapes and DOS
- Mass email marketing tools if wanting to do one-to-many messaging (like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp)
- Group tools if want members to message each other and the group at large (Facebook, Google or Linked group)
About the June Meetup
We had a great time visiting Computer Reach on June 7! It was pretty cool seeing their facility and learning more about the organization. A big thank you to the Computer Reach staff for hosting us and to Shawn for telling us about their programs and for the Linux demo!
We have no meetup in July and will resume our regular schedule on Wednesday, August 2 at Jewish Residential Services at Rodef Shalom. Have a good summer!
Here are the notes and resources from this meetup:
- Clonezilla to put Linux image on networked machines
- There are hundreds of versions of Linux, a lot are command line
- “Ubuntu” version – looks like a Mac, functions like a PC
- “Mint” – works like Windows
- Some better for low resource machines
- Could set up a computer as a dual boot for experimenting (try EaseUS for partitioning)
- Libre Office for productivity (can convert back and forth from MS Office)
- Computer Reach accepts donations from schools, companies, colleges
- Re-images and sends to countries to bridge digital divide
- Wipes them before shipping – talk to Dave about certificates for wiping
- Especially need laptop power cords and monitors right now
- Goodwill no longer recycles tech
- Salvation Army and Evolution do accept tech to recycle
- Westmoreland Cleanways has free e-cycling if you feel like making a trip to Greensburg
- Better to host on-site or offsite?
- Several group members host offsite (vendor Full Service Network was mentioned
- connecTel – telecom broker – will do research for NPOs, no charge to the organization
- Need good Internet speed
- Expect some downtime on implementation
- To keep service up all the time, have backup Internet
Security System Upgrades
- Video call box on door where can dial extension of people meeting with
- Full Service Network Installs this
About the May Meetup
We had a great meetup at the Frick Art & Historical Center on May 3! Many new faces and lots to discuss. A big “thank you” to Linda and the Frick staff for hosting us! Next month we will be at Computer Reach for our “Open Source Summer Fiesta” meetup, where we will have our usual meeting and spend some time receiving a demo of open source software and a tour of Computer Reach’s facility. Mark your calendar for June 7!
Here are the notes and resources from this meetup:
- An attendee Googled their organization’s name recently, only to learn that their Force.com site was set up improperly and that their entire database was open for the world to access. Warned the rest of us that Force.com should not be set up as the main CRM tool for an organization and that when used along with core Salesforce, should still be made secure and be given 2 factor authentication.
- If implementation goes poorly (as mentioned above), document, document, document. Also have cybersecurity insurance in place in case records are accidentally hacked or released and the organization faces a lawsuit.
- See if old sites are on the Google Wayback Machine, which is like a cache for websites.
- Local implementers of Salesforce include:
- HTTPS protects data being transmitted to and from a website.
- Having it in place can help to boost public perception and build trust.
- Still need security to protect site from hacking attempts.
- Let’s Encrypt tool is a free SSL option.
- Need a dedicated IP with the host to do SSL.
- Can be expensive to implement, depending on what you decide to use for SSL certificate. Hosts aren’t generally too helpful about support re: site conversions.
- Dreamhost is a good host – very good at support and they offer Let’s Encrypt.
Upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10
- It can take a while to get Windows 10 to install properly if upgrading. Installing from scratch seems to work just fine though.
- Don shared these links after the meeting:
- Dell is currently shipping many PCs as “Windows 10” but when you get them, they have Windows 7 and you have to do the upgrade yourself.
- How to keep Windows 10 from automatic discovery and installation of printers: go to File/Print Sharing and turn off the print share feature. Microsoft still has driver compatibility issues with certain copiers/printers in Windows 10.
- Turn off “User Experience Feedback” so it doesn’t slow down the network.
- Windows 10 S was just released.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
- One channel for Internet and voice data (phone systems).
- Vendors are selling phone services based off their own servers, but it’s better to have an in-house server.
- Cisco is a VoIP phone vendors, as is Avaya. Avaya seems to be better for smaller organizations.
- An in house server also has the advantage of being a capital expense (can be depreciated).
- You still have to have a really good Internet connection for VoIP to work well.
- connecTel is a local telecom broker – will assess your contracts for free and advise you on best configuration and how to save the most money in the process.
- DQE Communications and Level 3 Communications are fiber-optic Internet providers.