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

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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 & Critters” Meeting Notes – June 2015

Front facade of Animal Rescue LeagueThis month we held our “summer outing” meetup at Animal Rescue League, in the East End of Pittsburgh.  Thank you so much to Dan Rossi and the ARL staff for hosting our meeting as well as giving us a fun and informative tour of their facility at the end of the meeting!

Here are the notes from the meeting (which are not as thorough as usual, because I was holding a kitten during most of the meeting):

We will have no meeting in July and will resume our regular monthly meetups on Wednesday, August 5, at Jewish Residential Services in Shadyside.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Winners of prizes at the meeting

Prize winners!

Attendees pose for a group photo

 

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – May 2015

Entrance to the Frick Art & Historical CenterThe sun was out and the gardens at the Frick Art & Historical Center were in full bloom for our May meeting!  Thank you once again to Linda and the Frick staff for hosting our group this month!

Please join us on June 3 at Animal Rescue League for our special summer meeting “Bagels & Bytes & Critters” – we’ll be receiving a tour of ARL during the last half hour of the meeting!

More of the Frick's groundsThis month, we had a special presentation on technology funding by Katherine Heart from Heart Resources, LLC.  Katherine is a professional grantwriter.  Here are the notes from the presentation:

  • Katherine passed around two sample proposals.
  • If looking for IT funding, try:
    • Grantstation
    • Foundation Center
    • Individual Allegheny County-based foundations
    • Search by keyword “technology” and also look by program, like “STEM”
  • Funding can generally be requested for equipment and capital projects
    • Wiring, wireless, infrastructure, phones, servers, other equipment
  • This month's prize winners!Funding can also be requested when writing program grants
    • Mobile apps, website, any tech needed to operate or administer program
  • Having an endowment is a plus on a grant application
    • Endowments show sustainability and that you have some funding to cover operations
  • IT is considered overhead, so do grants to request operating support, but you also consider writing technology in grants for program funding too
  • Also look for cross-referenced funders who give to capital campaigns and to the types of programs your org does
  • It is okay to write grants just for technology
  • Try to capture funding in as many grants as possible, dividing costs among different grants and general funding
  • For Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) costs, you can write those into program grants if you need the software service to run the program
  • Include key IT activities into proposalwhenintegral part of project or program
    • Have to justify it logically in budget:  logic, goals, key activities, timeline for implementation
  • Overhead sources (if not program-related technology)
    • Different type of funding
    • Look for unrestricted grants (but will still need to discuss how tech will be used in the grant proposal)
  • Katherine handed out a nifty pre-proposal worksheet to attendees
    • If you cannot answer the questions on the worksheet, you aren’t ready to write a proposal
    • Once you answer the questions, you can transfer to the answers to corresponding fields on the other side of the worksheet to auto-generate a letter of inquiry (usually the first step in contacting a funder)
    • To request another copy of the worksheet, send Katherine a message at http://www.heartresources.net/contact
  • When writing grant proposals, also note
    • What are the adverse effects on your organization if you don’t receive this funding
    • What improvements or impacts will the project have in the community
  • Include needed technology training in proposals too
  • Include outcomes and how you plan to evaluate the end product (look at cost-benefits in the long run and what efficiencies will be gained)
  • Capture the value of IT volunteer time as an in-kind resource when you can do so