Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – November 2016

Bagels & Bytes attendees sitting around a conference table discussing tech for nonprofits

We held our last regular meetup of 2016 at ACHIEVA in the South Side. Thank you to Nicole, Steve, Dave and the rest of their staff for hosting us!

Our next meetup will be the Bagels & Bytes Holiday Party at Dave & Buster’s on Friday, 12/9 from 1-4 pm. As in the past, we will have our regular meeting in the dining area (each person buys his or her own meal and Cindy will get some appetizers for all), have a “techie white elephant” gift exchange and then go play some games. A reminder email will be coming out within a week or so.

Here are the notes from November’s meetup:

Information Security

  • Backups are critical
  • There’s typically a time period of 120 days from the time something happens until the time it is discovered
  • Backups should not by attached or kept close to the main data server or source – need to store copies off-site
  • Have a social media policy to combat potential info security compromises in that area – nothing is truly private on social tools

Programs Related to Technology that Employ (or Engage as Volunteers) People with Disabilities & Veterans

  • Dave Tinker mentioned a program that ACHIEVA is doing in conjunction with CMU for their residents to perform microjobs online
  • Cycle Point (part of Source America and partners with Goodwill of SWPA) employs people with disabilities and veterans (located in DC)
  • Computer Reach particularly is interested in finding veterans to volunteer at their org

Salesforce Database Conversions (What to Expect)

  • All data gets put into spreadsheets and is then cleaned (usually by the organization not the vendor)
  • Lot of effort to go through an implementation like this, but well worth it in the long run
  • Best to keep the same vendor contact during the entire implementation process if possible
  • There is a learning curve involved but it’s great once everyone is trained and things are up and running properly
  • Cool plugin for Salesforce is Gridbuddy – it makes the database display data in spreadsheet format
  • There’s an annual conference called Dreamforce
  • Katie Gascoine shared a local Salesforce-related event called Dreamforce Comes to You (#DFC2U) that happened on Nov. 14 (sorry I didn’t post this in time!)

AFP National Philanthropy Day

Change Management

  • Example/question given was about an organization moving from paper forms being entered in database to direct entry of data (and the resistance being encountered by staff and volunteers)
  • Training is essential
  • Important to get buy-in from staff and volunteers, preferably before rolling out a change
  • Need support from management – they have to have your back and hold staff/volunteer accountable for making the necessary changes
  • Can also gamify or incentivize the change – figure out a way to make it fun

Other Items of Interest

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – October 2016

Bagels & Bytes attendees sitting around a conference table discussing tech for nonprofitsWe met this month at ACHIEVA in the South Side.  Thank you to Steve, Nicole and Dave for hosting us!  We’ll be back at ACHIEVA for November’s meetup.

Here are the notes from this month’s meetup:

Cybersecurity

MS Office

  • MS Office – no more clipart
    • Get images from Bing.com now
    • Have to watch for viruses when getting images off the web

Databases for nonprofits

Mobile Internet Hardware

  • How to get Internet when working in places without it or when travelling abroad?
  • Mobile hotspots or devices that provide wi-fi
    • Verizon Jetpack (can get global plans)
      • Connect 10 users to one and devices can talk to each other
      • Data plan required
        • ~$85/250mb
        • Verizon has nonprofit flat rate for NPOs, unlimited data, domestic only
      • Can buy SIM card, swap out, use that country’s domestic plan while traveling
    • T-Mobile 2G (unlimited international data)
    • Satelite wi-fi
    • When build websites
      • Have to consider slow internet
      • Consider audience
    • Google Fiber – setting up in cities where city owns infrastructure

Other Topics

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – September 2016

We held our September meetup at Jewish Residential Services again this month. We appreciate Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us!  Next month we go to ACHIEVA in the South Side, Oct. 5, 8:30 am start time.

A quick reminder that TechNow conference registration is still in Early Bird mode until September 30.  If you need to register, be sure to do it in the upcoming week to get the best price!

Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:

Linux

  • Linux OS – alternative to Windows
  • Have to find alternative software but that’s possible- Open Office, GIMP, etc.

WordPress

  • Going rate for content updates $50-150 – depends on speed of person and hourly rate
  • For DIY updates, try free Easy Updates Manager plugin
  • We discussed best practices for finding a developer
    • Response time
    • Price point
    • Ongoing costs

Salesforce Implementation

Telephone Systems

Google Grants

  • Google Grants – Need to be a 501(c)(3) with valid website
  • Give you access to:
    • Google Apps
    • $10K/month in Adwords (don’t have to use it all)
      • Some requirements for ads (no video, for example) (can’t just ask for money)
      • Promote events, etc
      • Have to login quarterly to make sure till active (& ads still relevant)
      • Can use keywords/targeted words

Task/project Management

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – August 2016

Bagels & Bytes attendees discussing tech around a tableWe held our August meetup in the sunny conference room at Jewish Residential Services. Thank you to Paula, Harold and the rest of the JRS staff for hosting us!  We will return to JRS for our September 7 meetup, then it’s off to ACHIEVA for October and November.

P.S. TechNow 2016 Conference registration is open and early bird rates are active!  Register by September 30 to get the best rate!

Here are the notes from this month’s meetup:

Adding Search to Website

Telephone Systems

Technology Challenges Faced by New Nonprofits (and Some Suggested Solutions)

NP Tech Skill Set

Custom Software vs. Off-The-Shelf Software

  • Hybrid is best- off the shelf that can be customized
  • Example: want to process volunteer applications via the web
    • Upload PDFs/scans, etc.
    • Portal on website
    • WordPress Visual Form Builder plugin
    • If WordPress site, turn off Google indexing of PDFs in media library by editing robots.txt file
  • Spiceworks – network monitoring, management, help desk ticketing and inventory – has concierge service and is free

CRM Software

Finding Nonprofit Tech Jobs

Additional Resources (Shared by Attendees Post-meeting)

Bagels & Bytes & Critters – June 2016 – Meeting Notes

About Bagels & Bytes & Critters

We held our second annual summer meetup, “Bagels & Bytes & Critters,” on June 1 at the Animal Rescue League. During our meeting, we had a visitor (see pics below) named Elvis, who is frisky, fun, 6 years old and available for adoption!

We are so grateful to Dan Rossi, ARL’s executive director, and to all of their staff for hosting us again this year!

Enjoy these photos, which are followed by the notes and resources from the meeting. (And get in touch with ARL if you’d like to adopt Elvis!)

Meeting Photos (click any photo to open gallery mode)

Meeting Notes and Resources

Warm-up Topics

  • Johna brought us a copy of a new report by Allegheny Conference on Community Development entitled: “Inflection Point: Supply, Demand and the Future of Work in the Pittsburgh Region” – among other findings, it reports that our local workplace shortage could hit 80,000 by 2025.
  • We then had an informal discussion about network architecture and options – someone in the group is upgrading soon and asked for ideas and equipment options.

Generational Gap in Technology Usage

  • A member observed that the generation graduating from high school right now mostly knows the tech they have learned in school to do necessary tasks (write papers, etc.) and communication tools related to their smart phones. We shouldn’t necessarily assume they know how to use other kinds of tech.  Even if they pick it up fast, training will still be necessary in the workplace.
  • Another attitude difference – older techies seem to have more curiosity about how things work – the inner workings of tech – while the younger ones don’t seem to understand and also don’t care. They want tech to work well, be flexible and powerful, but not have to deal with the guts of things.
  • Random item of interest – someone mentioned an NPR story about how someone recently translated the entire Christian Bible into emojis.

Collaboration / Productivity Software

  • Real-time collaboration is now possible in Office 2013/2016 (Word/Excel, etc.) desktop versions. You need SharePoint if you want more than a few people working on a doc or spreadsheet at one time. There’s now a chat feature built in too.
  • Google Drive has had real-time collaboration capabilities for years. Someone asked about HIPAA compliance with Google Drive/Apps. Yes – there is a version that is fully HIPAA-compliant. It is encrypted and exempts your organization from automatic participation in Google’s data mining.  (Yes, Google mines everyone’s data.)

Windows 10

  • Someone asked: how is Windows 10 being received?
  • Seems to be fairly okay – some agencies have upgraded, some are still trying to prevent the auto-upgrade from turning on in the notification tray. There is concern that some programs and devices may not work upon upgrading to Win 10.
  • Orgs need to be careful with some hardware manufacturers – some have fine print on their equipment that they won’t support it if you upgrade to Windows 10.
  • If you want to stop the prompts to upgrade, you have a few options.  You could remove Windows Update #30355803.  You could also try a free program like GWX Control Panel, which is a more permanent blocking solution for that update.
  • It was noted that you need more memory to run Windows 10.  6 GB is the minimum generally agreed upon by the group, even though MS’s specs state 4 GB minimum.

Storage Drives

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – May 2016

Bagels & Bytes attendees sitting around a table talking in the Frick's Community Room

B&B attendees discussing tech in the Frick’s Community Room

This month was our second and final meetup at the Frick Art & Historical Center for this year. The weather remained lovely and the Frick grounds were in their spring glory!

Next month we will have our special summer meetup, Bagels & Bytes & Critters, on June 1 (8:30-10 AM) at the Animal Rescue League.  We will have our usual meeting (probably joined by a puppy or kitten) followed by a tour of the facility.

Here are the notes and resources from the May meetup:

Working with Tech Vendors

Prize winners!

This month’s prize winners!

Dislikes:

  • Constant calls
  • Condescending
  • Not having real operators at the first support level
  • Invites for sales appointments or demos that are automatically added to the calendar
  • Signing us up (without asking) for the email or mailing list after contact

Likes:

  • Adaptability – NPOs are not one size fits all
  • Vendor websites with plenty of information so we can do our research beforehand (make it possible to get info without having to call or email someone).
  • A real understanding of the nonprofit market
  • Doing one’s homework about the organization via the web before getting in touch
  • Tech support that is quick to react and has retained a history of the organization, so can be on the same page regardless of who is handling the call

Email Hacking and Spoofing

  • Strong passwords are crucial
  • Spoofing can look like your email was hacked, but is slightly different (read more…)
  • Have internal controls so fake approval requests (for example, a request for a wire transfer of money) cannot happen easily
  • Have a password policy (see below – we discussed in more detail later in the meeting)

Cyber Security Insurance

  • Generally added as a rider to the regular insurance contract
  • Depending on how it’s written, covers lawsuit costs if hacked, data compromised, etc.
  • Also covers public relations expenses, which are typically the biggest cost of all (public perception trumps who’s actually at fault – this is reputation management)
  • Every state has different regulations on coverage
  • Even if your software and data are in the cloud with a third-party provider, you still might have risk and liability
  • It’s easier than you think for thieves to steal your data – just watch this video from 60 Minutes about phone hacking (Thanks, Johna!)
  • Remember that most photocopiers have a hard drive in them that retain file data from scans, etc. Factory reset doesn’t wipe that data – be sure that the place that recycles your copier properly wipes the drive (you can also do it yourself – either take out the hard drive (if older) or use a USB connection)

Password Policies

  • What is in place and needed depends on the organization
  • You can require and enforce character types, length, frequency of changes, etc.
  • Sometimes 2 step verification is possible
  • Ultimately, you have to train the users – the best password policy in the world can’t prevent someone from writing down the password on a post-it note and putting it under their keyboard (people are always the weakest link in tech security)
  • Also must consider saved browser profiles, which may contain passwords and form data. Chrome in particular is bad for this – cleaning the passwords from the cache doesn’t erase them for other users on the same machine
  • There are a number of good password managers available: myPassword, LastPass

Local Salesforce Vendors

Request for Proposals (RFPs)

  • Love/hate relationship on all levels
  • Sometimes still necessary
  • The response time and type from a vendor can tell you a lot about that vendor
  • Nonprofits can help vendors by being flexible and willing to talk to orgs about solutions – most orgs need someone who will help improve business processes, not just replace the systems they already have in place

EMV Chips on Credit Cards (and Credit Card Processing Machines)

  • Was supposed to have been mandatory by a certain date
  • Liability has shifted since October 2015, so some retailers are refusing to implement. Johna sent this information, which was released in Allegheny Conference’s recent newsletter: “Businesses that accept credit cards for point-of-sale transactions need to know about new rules regarding credit cards. As of late last year, merchants who don’t upgrade their credit card terminals to accept new EMV “chip” cards may be liable for fraudulent transactions.”

Sam’s Club Grants

WordCamp Pittsburgh

  • The local WordPress users group is hosting their first ever WordCamp Pittsburgh –  a one day event for WP users of all levels – on September 17. Visit the event website for details

Recycling

  • Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) is hosting a number of recycling events this year, the first was on May 14 at the Pittsburgh Mills Galleria, with more to come over the summer. These events bring together recyclers of all types of materials, including technology and electronics, into one place (only event where you can recycle TVs locally too) (Thanks, Nicole!)

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – April 2016

The external view of the Frick's Community Room and corresponding Courtyard

Photo credit: Frick Art & Historical Center

This month, we are grateful to Linda Buker and the Frick Art & Historical Center for hosting us in the Frick’s new Community Room just off the Car & Carriage Museum!

I totally forgot to take photos at the meeting (the discussion was engaging!), so here’s an outside photo of the building taken from the museum’s corporate rentals brochure.

Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meetup. We’ll be back at the Frick on May 4 for our next meetup.

Age affecting tech usage in nonprofits

  • Younger folks “get” the concepts (ex: cloud computing) more easily because they are digital natives
  • There are notable social differences – not unusual to see two young people sitting four feet away from each other and chatting on their phones instead of talking
  • Younger generation also:
    • tends to have a faster response time
    • mixes personal and work
    • wants work-at-home and flexible scheduling

Time tracking and the upcoming changes to FLSA law regarding exempt/non-exempt staff

  • The question: how does your organization currently track staff time (if at all)?
    • Random audits / time samplings
    • “Lawyer’s Timekeeper” software if need minute by minute tracking
    • Sage/Schneider Downs software
    • Sentric software
    • RescueTime software
    • ADP app – clock in through cellphone app, which is connected to GPS so you can’t fib
  • Is there a trust issue at play here? Outside of the new law requirements, should we be tracking time or watching the levels of staff productivity?
  • It’s important to be consistent with policies on remote working and work flexibility

Other items discussed

Addendum