Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – September 2017

Bagels & Bytes attendees around the table, talking and laughing togetherAbout 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.

Hey…TechNow stuff…

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

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Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – August 2017

This month…

…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)

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 Meeting Notes – September 2015

Bagels & Bytes attendees sitting around a table chatting with one another.This was our final month at Jewish Residential Services lovely sunlit conference room!  Thank you once again to Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us!  We will re-convene on October 7, 8:30-10 am, at ACHIEVA in the South Side.

In the meantime, remember to get registered for the 2015 TechNow Conference (Oct. 29) before the early bird pricing ends on Sept. 30!  🙂

Winners of door prize swag smiling and holding up their prizes!Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:

  • Volunteer database software
  • Windows 10 upgrade?
    • Better than 8.
    • New Horizons just had a free Windows 10 workshop, covered a lot of server-side info for using 10 on your network.
    • Has interesting applications for remote desktop.
    • Speed and ease of use is better than 10 there – how it mirrors the drives – is faster.
    • Word on the street is, Windows 10 is to be the last version of Windows ever, going to just be 10.1, 10.2, etc.
    • Alex has been upgrading old XP machines to 10 – going well – also upgraded a win 2003 server recently to 10 with good results.
    • All Win 8 licenses from TechSoup automatically get upgrades to Win 10.
    • Edge browser is of interest (only comes with Win 10).
  • Issues with sending to AOL email addresses
    • Web forms in WP sending to AOL accounts tend to fail more often.
  • What to do with older thin client boxes?
  • Network filters
    • If have sites or keywords blacklisted across the network, doesn’t matter what device you use for access, will still be blocked on that network.
    • Best practice to have a central policy for what sites or keywords get blacklisted.
    • We didn’t take away watercoolers when back in the day when that was how time-wasters goofed off at work, we shouldn’t necessarily block everyone because of one employee. Better to deal with the issues with that employee.
    • Some organizations take the opposite approach, having a more open, lenient policy on network usage, addressing performance issues rather than cutting privileges.
    • SonicWall – has an add on, a virtual machine, SonicWall Firewall Analyzer, that records network/internet activity, great if have a situation arises, records for about a month at a time, when have a performance issue come up, then can check it as evidence or documentation.
  • Productivity tools
    • IFTTT.com (if this, then that) – let’s you create “recipes” (aka scripts) that let apps interact that normally don’t.
    • Todoist.com – also links disparate software tools, for example, if someone sends you an email with a task in it, Todoist has a plugin, where you can send the email to your to-do list in one click.  Can also send tasks marked completed to a google spreadsheet.  They have channels on their website where people have created “recipes” that you can use, tweak, etc. to accomplish your workflows.

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

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – September 2014

This month, we met for the final time this year at Jewish Residential Service at Rodef Shalom Congregation.  Thank you to Paula and all the JRS staff for hosting us!

We are also grateful to Julie and Tim from LANtek, who provided us with a demo of Office 365 during this month’s meeting.  The notes from the demo follow.

Office 365 Demo Notes

  • Office 365 is 1 of 3 current products in Microsoft’s cloud portfolio
    • Office 365 is the productivity suite, similar to regular MS Office
      • Scaleability
      • Social web analytics
      • Mobility
      • Live data feeds
      • Advanced analytics
    • Cloud OS – Windows Azure is the brand name of their cloud server service (Windows Server is still the name of thelocally-installed network operating system software)
      • run MS apps on cloud-based server
      • Other apps (QuickBooks, etc.) – must run on local server(though can get most of these in cloud-based forms these days)
  • Bandwidth is important  – 10 MB can typically support 10-50 users easily
  • Is HIPAA compliant, has all the certifications (SOX, SAE, etc.)
  • Email encryption possible + rights management (can control printing and reading)
  • Also can host MS products and all your other apps on a data center (LANtek has a local data center)
  • Email is usually the 1st thing that goes into cloud – easy to uncouple, gives IT admins most grief.
  • Typical challenges – midsize business
    • Anywhere access
    • Work together
    • Easy IT
    • Best Value
  • Included in Office 365
    • Word
    • Excel
    • PPT
    • Access
    • Publisher
    • Project and Visio extra
    • Business email – Outlook
  • Document sharing – via SharePoint
  • Web conferencing – voice and video from PC (need mics + cams of course)
  • There are levels of licensing
  • Can still set up shared resources (conf. rms, etc.)
  • Shared mailboxes (info@) are free
  • Staff profiles/org charts feature included
  • Real-time document collaboration
  • Can share w/Lync if need to give read-access to a lot of people
  • Online meetings – videos, presentation, chat features – also remote desktop control capabilities (via Lync session)
  • MS makes Office 365 for iPad now too (cross platform support)
  • OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) gives 20 GB cloud storage per user
  • Encrypted in flight and at rest (per HIPAA compliance requirements)
  • Can choose to enter credentials each time or to cache credentials
  • Use pass phrases, substituting numbers for letters
  • Don’t have to worry about backups anymore
  • Still have to add/delete/manage user accounts
  • Anti spam + AV built-in > AV vendor recently acquired by MS – up to 8 AV engines
  • 99.9% uptime and get credited for downtime if happens
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Online community
  • Various packages/levels of help desk support
  • Replicated across multiple data centers
  • Sometime redundant internet useful (if truly redundant, not different carriers on same poles – must go through separate paths)
  • Instead of big upfront cost, smaller predictable monthly cost
  • Licensing available on TechSoup
  • E3 – biggest pack corp. ($20/user/month)/called A4 for nonprofits ($6/user/month)
  • 1 user can login from anywhere – up to 5 devices can load office software
  • No longer have to purchase Office with devices (Laptops/Desktops)
  • Don’t have to worry about uninstalling home use licenses with 365 – simply uncheck a box in admin panel and user gets a notice that software license expired when tries to use software
  • Phone systems can be integrated with voicemail several ways (depends on system)
  • Migration
    • Federation and Dirsync for single sign on
    • No support for Exchange 2003/07 migration
    • There are third-party tools to assist with migration (Skykick, Quest)
    • Public folders – can of 50 GB on store in 365
    • Outlook – 2003 and earlier – not supported
    • Address auto-complete, signature block, etc. – not migrated by default
    • Can do staged migration or cutover
    • MX record can take up to 72 hours to propagate
    • SkyKick – email migration tool, cloud-based (Outlook assistant) – only available through MS partners
    • OneDrive build on SharePoint technology (was named SkyDrive originally)
    • Choose domain name wisely – very hard to change (tenant space name)
  • Still need AV on desktop PCs to monitor for viruses