Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – August 2014

Rodef Shalom, view from Fifth AvenueWe met this month at Jewish Residential Services lovely, sunlit meeting room in their office suite at the Rodef Shalom Congregation.  A big thank you to Paula and the JRS crew for hosting us!

Reminder: next month we will have an Office 365 demo, presented by local vendor Lantek. Mark your calendars for Sept. 3, from 8:30 – 10 a.m., once again at JRS @ Rodef Shalom!

Reminder: TechNow 2014 Conference registration is open! Early bird rate is $110 through Sept. 30.

Here are the meeting notes and resources:

Tech purchasing

  • NAEIR – discount shopping online that has a lot of technology-related items available

Cloud file storage

Privacy

  • Discussed the news story on the Russian gang 1.2 billion password hacking incident
  • Privacy feel largely non-existent these days, but nonprofits still need to worry about HIPAA and other compliances

Tech impact on society

Other resources

  • Tech Impact – based in Philly, used to be NPOWER PA
  • Windows 8 – Norm found an add-on that lets you get some of the Windows 7 features back, like a start menu

Bagels & Bytes on a Boat Meeting Notes – June 2014

Bagels & Bytes attendees waving from the deck of the Explorer.We had perfect weather for our summer outing, Bagels & Bytes on a Boat!  A big thank you to RiverQuest and to the riverboat staff who made this meeting possible!

As usual, the Bayer Center gave away prizes during the meeting, including a one-year individual NTEN membership, a NetSquared mug and a bunch of NetSquared stickers!  (Thanks, Eli!!)

Note that B&B-Allegheny goes on hiatus for July and will return the first Wednesday of August at the usual time.  We’ll be meeting at Rodef Shalom in Shadyside.

Bagels & Bytes attendees waving from the deck of the Explorer (close-up photo).

Here are the notes from the meeting:

Generational Differences and Tech

  • The younger generation knows tech, the older generation knows business need.
  • Both generations can learn from each other.

QuickBooks Online

  • Doesn’t work well with Windows XP.
  • QuickBooks support, however, is really good.  They will help you with workarounds if needed.

Local Tech Vendors

Other Tech Vendors / Websites

The Cloud

  • If your org is mostly or wholly cloud-based, you need excellent Internet speed.
  • The cloud isn’t for everyone.  You have to be okay with being heavily reliant on your Internet connection and on the third party software or hardware providers.
  • Important to find reliable cloud-provider companies.

Funding the Cloud

  • Capital vs. operating expense
  • Tech-wise, nonprofits aren’t much difference from small businesses.  Where they differ the most is that businesses tend to be better about having a tech plan and about budgeting for tech.
  • More difficult to get grant funding for operating expenses like cloud hardware or software.  Foundations tend to look at those expenditures as the cost of doing business.

Other Topics and Ideas

  • BoardBookit – board collaboration and management software (cloud-based)
  • Tech Committees are a good practice for all orgs.  It’s important to put together a diverse group of people across organizational functions and with varied skill sets.
  • Office 365 – the migration is reported to be pretty smooth.  Cost is ~$4.50 per user per month and can be purchased at TechSoup.  Rollouts go best when staff is prepped in advance and provided with training post-migration.
  • Lantek – provides informational sessions on Office 365 periodically.
  • Re-Use Technology Collaborative
  • GTECH
  • Office 2013 – slight difference in menus (saving files, etc.)
  • There is an MS SharePoint group that meets monthly in the Microsoft building on the North Shore.

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – August 2013

We had our August meeting at Rodef Shalom in Shadyside.  A big “thank you” to Paula and the nice folks at Jewish Residential Services for hosting us!

Here are the notes from the meeting:

Tablets

  • Anyone using Windows 8 tablet? Wanting to know about joining it to a domain.
  • Windows Pro 8 can be joined a domain.
  • iPad almost seems to be better for personal use and Windows 8 more geared for business.
  • Rumor that Start menu has been put back in Windows 8.

Network speeds

Hardware

  • Zones.com – hardware, software, tech reseller that offers really good deals (they purchase in bulk from tech companies like Dell, HP, etc.) – contact person is Kim Montieth, Kim.Montieth@zones.com, (800) 258-0882 x 53494
  • Voicemail system hacking – how to prevent?
  • Compact flash memory – can be used in place of hard drives

Local Interest

  • Johna from Allegheny Conference shared the link for her org’s new website:  ImaginePittsburgh.com (resources for living, working & playing in Pittsburgh)

We’ll be back at Rodef Shalom on Wednesday, September 4.  Hope to see you there!

The 2013 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar is here.

Allegheny Bagels & Bytes Meeting – August 2012

We held our meeting at Jewish Residential Services’ office in Rodef Shalom, Shadyside.  Thank you to Paula Pagnotta and JRS for hosting us!

We will return to the same place for the September 5 meeting (usual time, 8:30 – 10 am).

Resources and Notes from our August Meeting

  • What constitutes “good” customer service? 
    • Call back in reasonable amount of time
    • Have to watch one person vendor shops…not as responsive sometimes
  • Remote services
  • Challenges with deploying new tech
    • Visual component is so important…people are creatures of habit
    • Change is hard…even though we talk about it.
    • Whether its hardware or software etc. someone will find something not to like about new stuff.
    • People want to feel in control and competent and when they can’t get tech to work, sometimes that causes them to feel out of control and incompetent. That can be a bigger issue than the actual equipment.
  • ISPs
  • Social media policy question
    • Trend in for-profits was rigid policies, has been turning less rigid.
    • Nonprofits seem to be going from less rigid to more.
    • Where is the boundary…Human Resources issue vs. a tech issue?
    • Seems to be trial and error so far, for most orgs in general.
    • Performance issues have to be addressed as such.
    • Some grantmakers and certification bodies are starting to require that orgs have such a policy in place.
    • It’s about trying to control behavior.
    • Should we have a stand-alone social media policy vs. part of overall policy?

And finally, a funny quote from the meeting that cracked us all up:  “Why do they have cell phone service in a cemetery?  THEY don’t need it.”

The 2012 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar is here.

Allegheny B&B – August 2011 Meeting

Our August meeting took place in Jewish Residential Services’ lovely meeting room at Rodef Shalom in Shadyside.  A big thanks to Paula and JRS staff for hosting us!  Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 7 at the same location from 8:30-10 a.m.  Visit the 2011 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar for more information.

We had a great turnout!  Topics and resources from the meeting include:

Webinar Software

Fundraising Software

  • DonorPro (noted: get an actual person on phone in support calls, smooth data conversion process, integrates with Constant Contact and OpenOffice)
  • Raiser’s Edge (noted: pricey, but cost can be brought down if you need a large # of licenses)
  • Landslide CRM (noted: Johna L. provided contact info – Jami Strangio, Senior Sales Advisor, Landslide Technologies, jamis@landslide.com, phone 781-325-4880 x1012, cell 617-543-1550)
  • Idealware.org has report on low-cost donor management software available for download

Data Record Retention

  • How long to keep?
  • On employees, 7 years by law
  • On donors, generally kept forever
  • There’s a balance to be struck between being too strict about data entered and too loose – the goal is good, but clean data.

Server Cleanup

  • How to keep enough file space and backup space?
  • Nose around, look at files, give notice to staff, delete.
  • Keep adding space, not ideal?
  • Can get external hard drives.
  • Set space limits (file space and email accounts).
  • Need to do more tech training/education with staff. Behavioral issue.
  • Address with policy?
  • Photo storage – cloud? Flickr?
  • MosyPro – online backups.
  • Network area storage – cloud, getting cheaper, easier to manage.

Upgrading to Windows 7

  • Need to upgrade RAM first.
  • Driver issues here and there, but not as many as when Win7 was first released.

Post-meeting, Michelle H. shared the following free webinar from Idealware on August 30:

“Ask the Expert: Low Cost Donor Management Tools

In partnership with Idealware, we recently published a detailed report comparing 29 different low cost donor management systems. The report provides an overview of what donor management systems do, recommendations for systems based on particular needs, comparison charts, and an index that provides summaries of all 29 systems.

This month’s Ask the Expert will offer members the chance to discuss and ask questions about selecting the right low cost donor database to the report’s authors: Andrea Berry and Jay Leslie. Moderating the Q&A discussion will be Robert Weiner, an expert on helping nonprofit organizations navigate the sea of donor databases. Join the live discussion on August 30th at 11 am PST/2 pm EST.  Register today, it’s free!”

Bagels & Bytes on a Boat – June 2011

We held our third annual Bagels & Bytes on a Boat on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.  RiverQuest graciously permitted us to use their beautiful boat Explorer for our meeting.  We had a great turnout and a great time!

Here are resources from the meeting (photos will be uploaded in a separate post on this blog shortly):

We have no B&B meeting in July, but will be back on Wednesday, August 3, at Rodef Shalom in Shadyside.  Have a great summer!

Allegheny B&B – September 2010 Meeting Notes

This was our last meeting for this year at Rodef Shalom in Shadyside.  (Off to ACHIEVA in the South Side for October through December.)

Here are the topics, resources, and links discussed during our September meeting:

  • Where to have the B&B Holiday party in December?
    • The group agreed that touring the server room at one of the local casinos would be fun and interesting.  Several members are going to work some contacts and see if we can get in there.
    • Our second choice is Dave & Buster’s, but we agreed that we don’t want to eat there (will go to a restaurant nearby for lunch).
  • How to dispose of older tech equipment?
    • Try to sell back to vendor or manufacturer if an option.
    • There are companies out there who will eBay equipment for you.
    • Construction Junction does electronics recycling, will even pick up for a $250 freight fee (better to have a large load for this service).
    • DBAN is good for wiping your hard drives prior to recycling.
  • Hosted data centers
  • Bandwidth issues
    • Good bandwidth is really important if using VoIP.
    • Seems to be a general need for increasing overall organizational bandwidth as of late (more remote users, memory-heavy apps, etc.).
    • If shopping around for a different provider, a broker can sometimes get you better deals.  (M. Hines mentioned ConnecTel as an example – contact person there is Scott McKinney – can also do a telecom “audit” for your agency.)

I hope to see you all at ACHIEVA on October 6!  Don’t forget to register for TechNow 2010 if you’ve not already done so!! Oh, and the breakout sessions and presenter information are now available online:   http://technow2010.wordpress.com.