Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – August 2015

Rodef Shalom exterior buildingAugust Meetup

Our meetup is back from its July break! We met on August 5 at Jewish Residential Services in the Rodef Shalom Congregation building in Shadyside. Thank you so much to Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us!

We will be back at JRS for our September 2 meeting. Remember to join our new Meetup.com group to get meeting reminders and easily RSVP each month!

Meeting Notes

Laptop Borrowing Policy

  • Who should be responsible for damages if incurred?
  • Is there a difference between using the org-owned equipment for work or personal, at home vs. office, when damage incurred?
  • Generally agreed that insurance should cover equipment
  • Some orgs require staff to pay for damaged equipment. We discussed the legality of this and there are many aspects of labor law to consider before implementing such a policy (read this article)
  • Always have your organization’s solicitor review policies before implementing
  • A Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is also a good idea these days and every organization should have a general Acceptable Use of Technology policy
  • Rather than issuing laptops, might a tablet computer work for staff working in the field?
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) software can provide protection against data loss or violation, frequently giving encryption capabilities, keeping data from being stored directly on the device and/or ability to reset or “wipe” a device if lost or stolen

Website Management

  • Managing through designer or in-house?
  • What to do when designer not very responsive to needs or requests?
  • Sometimes it’s a control issue, developer won’t let organization do updates, even if a possibility
  • A content management system (CMS) helps, like WordPress or Drupal – something with permissions/roles
    • If want to bring duties in-house, WordPress is widely used and easily learned
    • Good tutorials at www.wpbeginner.com

Making case for getting reimbursed for cellphones from organization

  • How to convince management to reimburse for personal cell phone usage when used for work (how to make case)?
    • Track usage
    • Document what other organizations doing
    • Rally co-workers to cause before approaching management
  • Could do virtual PBX or Google Voice to provide Single number instead of giving out cell

How to provide wi-fi to staff working in the field or travelling

  • Tether phone as hotspot
  • Get a personal hotspot (mi-fi)
  • If at a regular location in the field, see if can get a cable modem or DSL account from a local provider and run it to a nearby building (may have to find and negotiate with a local building owner)
  • Probably need to make case to management for data usage requirements vs. cost

New meetup group: Google Apps for Nonprofits

  • Spearheaded by several local people, including Ben Weaver, Kevin Driscoll
  • Email Kevin Driscoll for details
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Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – October 2014

ACHIEVA on Bingham Street in PittsburghThis month, we are grateful to Steve and Nicole from ACHIEVA for hosting us in their comfortable board room!  We will be back at ACHIEVA next month, when Steve will be giving us a Google Apps demonstration.

(Oh, and I know you’re all tired of hearing me say this – but don’t forget to register for TechNow if you haven’t done so already!  🙂

Here are the notes from this month’s meeting.

iOS 8 Upgrade

  • iOS 8 on older devices
  • Battery issue
  • 5s already has issues with battery on some models
  • Takes ~ 5GB of memory
  • Keeping some app updates from installing (want iOS update 1st)
  • iCloud
  • Pay if more than 5 GB
  • Choose what to backup via iTunes

Cell Phone, Providers and BYOD

  • Most orgs that provide phones to staff standardize & give out one kind of phone
  • Some do BYOD & put on network
  • BYOD policies (could also put in regular acceptable use)
  • Lookout security app – backs up device & takes photo of person if tries to unlock more than 3 times (phone and iPad)
  • Need to put in policy if require that type of app for employees
  • Verizon – recently came down in pricing but have to ask

Windows 10

The Future of Technology

  • Talked about pace of change in tech, last 15 years
  • Minority Report movie has cool tech that we might see in real life someday (also check out the 2012 version of Total Recall)

Learning Management Systems

  • Websites & internet access generally required for learning (K-12 and higher ed)
  • Electronic textbooks as a standard would be great
  • Blackboard is still in use
  • Google has an app called Google Classroom
  • Moodle
  • Aquos Board (Sharp product – Wilson Group may have info at TechNow)
  • Possible SMARTboard uses
    • Notes
    • Annotations
    • Skyping (if camera)

Boardbookit

Place to Get Tech Deals

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – April 2014

Haller House on the Frick campus

Haller House at the Frick Art & Historical Center.

Thank you to Linda and the Frick Art & Historical Center for hosting at Haller House this month! I forgot to take a photo of the group, but I did manage to find a nice pic of Haller House online (right).  We’ll be meeting at the same location next month, first Wednesday, same time as usual.

First, a quick reminder from Johna, as posted in a recent TechSoup newsletter:

“We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Windows XP will not receive security dates and therefore will no longer be HIPAA compliant. The time to upgrade is now.”

Cloud & Productivity Software

  • Office 365
    • Multiple devices
    • Now have iPad version
    • $4 per person + $2 for OneDrive
    • Available through TechSoup
  • Concerns over going to cloud and the subsequent shift in expenses from capital to operating.
  • Some orgs really pushing for monthly donors so have more unrestricted funding with which to work.

Archiving Files

  • 7 years legal limits for saving, but most orgs also want to keep historical data.
  • Look at process on paper side for file retention and retain that process, just translate it to digital files.
  • It’s important to have a retention policy and an archiving process.
  • Archiving software: ApplicationXtender
    • One local vendor for this is CompuCom
    • Easy retrieval of files
    • Can email files from it
    • Can search easily
    • File format is Tiff (so can annotate)
  • Still need to have a staff person with designated responsibility for the archiving process and maintenance.
  • Sample document retention policy:  PDF format or MS Word format

BYOD vs. Organization-Owned Tech

  • Someone mentioned a correlation between how organizations have handled health insurance – when company pays for benefits, people tend to go to doctors way more often and some people abuse the benefits completely.  Perhaps if organizations took the approach of co-ownership of tech or having staff pay for some of the costs, they would take better care of the technology?
  • If staff members pay for their technology and maintenance with a stipend, they tend to take better care of the tech.
  • Have to get staff to take responsibility for their tech, especially their knowledge and learning.

Hiring Technology Staff (for non-technical people)

  • What questions to ask in interviews?
  • How to evaluate answers?
  • Group brainstorm:

Managing Technology (when you don’t have internal tech staff)

  • Someone mentioned the Circuit Rider model of tech support from years ago, asked if anyone was still doing this.
  • Most attendees agree that it’s better to have a relationship with a vendor – a support contract of some kind – so that you get all the expertise of the firm when you need it, rather than relying on a single person to have that much knowledge of complex technology and so you aren’t left in dire straights if the person moves away or otherwise becomes unavailable.
  • The Bayer Center maintains a directory of vetted vendors who provide technology services to nonprofits.

Social Media

  • Shifting usage – living your life in the real world, rather than online.
  • A few interesting articles along these lines, just to give you a sense of how people are beginning to think about social media:

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – October 2013

We were at ACHIEVA on the South Side this month and will return on November 6 for our next meeting.  A big “thank you” to Steve McDonell and the ACHIEVA staff for hosting us!

Topics (and interspersed random notes) we covered in this month’s meeting included:

  • Technology in nonprofits – increasing effective usage
    • training
    • culture change
    • expectations for staff
    • management buy-in
  • It’s important to take a break once in a while and breathe.
  • Cloud-based apps:
  • IT workload
    • there’s been a shift to project management, process improvement (more soft skills needed).
  • Verizon hotspots
    • Shop/view here
    • up to 8 users ($39-59.99/month)
    • portable 4G wi-fi (better than aircard b/c only one person can use that and doesn’t always work properly)
    • Medicaid funded agencies get discount from Verizon
  • BYOD
    • Trend moving towards paying stipends for BYOD phones and devices instead of providing devices
    • For BYOD, critical part is the on-boarding and off-boarding processes.
    • Permissions being set properly are very important as well – people should only have as much access as they need to do their jobs.
    • IT isn’t always told someone has been hired (or fired) until after it’s already happened
    • Ultipro – is an ADP competitor (Ultimate Software) – started all cloud-based, where ADP moved to the cloud a few years back
    • Ultipro lets you manage hiring/separation functions online, ADP does too, but it’s a third-party provider (with multiple sign-ons)
    • Can build in automated alerts to be notified when someone hired or leaves
    • Iron Stratus (look this up)
  • Document management
    • CompuCom – local vendor for ApplicationXtender document management software
    • ComDoc
    • Unicentric case management – has a built in way to scan and upload things in one shot
    • If have no high speed scanner, try to get volunteers or interns to help with scanning
    • Indexing is the hard port (some agencies use barcodes and standardized hand-filled out fields)

Hope to see you in November!  And mark your calendar now for the B&B Holiday Party at Dave & Buster’s in the Waterfront from 1-4 pm on December 6!

Bagels & Bytes on a Boat – Meeting Notes – June 12, 2013

We had great weather for our annual Bagels & Bytes on a Boat meeting!  Our group is grateful to RiverQuest’s staff and crew for permitting us to hold our meeting on their lovely boat again!

Here are the notes from the meeting:

  • Acrobat Pro training XINew Horizons has some classes on this
  • Pushing updates to computers on a network
    • PDQ Deploy software
    • Java issues as of late
    • Group policy
    • Part of the reason the move to the cloud is a good thing
  • Sprint air cards
  • Support for personal devices / limited staff
    • Address with policy
    • BYOD rolling out more and more
    • How much support to provide?
  • Enkompas – Sharepoint implementers
  • BoardBookIt – beta coming soon
  • PerfectForms – cloud based workflow software
  • Change management
    • Clear communications
    • Buy-in from upper management
    • Transparency
    • Slow rollout
  • Password Keeper tool
  • Snipping Tool in Windows for sending error messages to IT department (tutorial here)

Just a reminder – we have no July meeting and will reconvene on Wednesday, August 7, at Rodef Shalom in Shadyside.  Have a great summer and see you in August!

B&B Meeting Notes – Feb. 6, 2013

We had a great time on Wednesday morning at the Children’s Museum of Pgh. and a productive, informative meeting!  A big “thank you” to George, Mercy and the Children’s Museum Cafe for hosting & catering our meeting.

Meeting Topics and Resources

  • Social media questions
    • What networks? Linkedin? Facebook? Twitter? Blog?  (Find out where your audience is.)
    • Personal vs. professional – a persistent question.
    • Slideshow: 10 Social Media for Business Myths.
  • Virtual servers
    • Is one physical server/computer that has been partitioned at the hard drive level to function as two or more separate servers (they share hardware resources, but have separated disk space and operating systems).
    • VMware:  “How Virtualization Works.”
    • It’s good to have a second server (physical, not virtual) to back up the virtual one(s).
    • Benefits – you can allocate hard drive space as needed, assign disk space “on the fly,” upfront costs are a little higher but the overall long-term costs are lower (less servers to replace).
    • VMware has a feature – ability to move servers to another server easily.
    • When should you virtualize?  Generally if you have three servers or more, you should begin to consider it.
    • Backups / disaster recovery – people typically use external hard drives or cloud-based backup.
    • Sonic CDP (stands for “Continuous Data Protection”) is a good backup tool.
    • Mobile app for remote access called 2X Client.
  • Internet service providers (ISPs)
    • Connectel is a local isp/phone broker, they get paid in commission by telecom companies, so orgs pay nothing to get their assistance.  Local rep is Doug Dembiczak / ddembiczak@connectelinc.com.
    • Considerations: having a redundant internet line, shared vs. dedicated, up/down speeds.
    • Free online speed test available.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) issues
    • Agency-owned vs. personal?
    • Who pays?  For equipment?  For data plans/service?
    • Important to have a policy for this.
  • Data/file system housekeeping policies
    • If your org has a document retention policy, use that for guidance on digital files.
    • Ok (and frequently necessary) to set limits on staff’s storage space.
    • A method for archiving email must be found.  Gmail is easy, Outlook and other programs are trickier.
    • 7 years seems to be a standard timeframe for keeping most docs, but check with your org’s solicitor for guidance.
    • Duplicate File Finder – free software that will go through your file system and find/display duplicate files.  Can be installed on a PC, doesn’t have to be the server.
  • SharePoint

Our next meeting will be at the Children’s Museum, Wednesday, March 6 (8:30-10 am).  Hope to see you there!

The 2013 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar is here.

Allegheny B&B Meeting – October 2012

This month we met at ACHIEVA on the South Side.  A big thank-you to Steve McDonell and the folks at ACHIEVA for hosting!  We will return to that location for the month of November (Wed., 11/7).

Meeting Notes and Resources

  • We had a general rant regarding budget cuts by the state gov’t and the effects on organization tech budgeting and spending.
  • Mergers and technology (how to do successfully):
    • Communicate well.
    • Educate staff.
    • Change management is the biggest challenge.
  • Security camera installation/implementation.
    • Is it a tech function or facilities function?
    • Analog vs digital?
  • Mobile device use and issues
    • Privacy
    • Personal vs org owned
    • Human Resources vs IT department generated and issued
    • IT generally doesn’t provide support with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment. Staff should take personal devices to phone vendor. Tech dept may provide basic tutorials and acceptable use policies.
    • Google chat has option to send SMS via chat.
  • What affects decision to go to cloud?
    • Org makes choice.
    • Culture is conducive.
    • Perception of institutional control.

The 2012 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar is here.