We held B&B-Allegheny at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh this month. Thank you to George, Mercy and the CMP staff for hosting us!
We will return to the Children’s Museum for next month’s meeting on Wednesday, March 5 (8:30-10 am).
Windows XP Migration / Upgrading to Windows 8.1
- Support to be ending for XP in April 2014
- Some not wanting to go to Win8
- Desktop vs. main screen
- 8.1 upgrades sometimes fail
- Still feel like Win 8 is buggy
- Can revert – make 8 look like 7
- TechSoup has Windows 7 upgrades available (32 and 64 bit)
- TechSoup also has the Software Assurance program – a 2 year window where you can obtain licenses for updated versions of software you’ve purchased through TS
- What about giving old Win XP PCs away to staff or otherwise?
- Recommend sign off a hold harmless agreement
- Make sure wipe hard drive properly
- RAM mostly going to be issue – many times can upgrade
- Win 7 wipes old operating systems, does a fresh install
- Window Easy Transfer tool is helpful
- Don’t see value for 8 if no touch screen
- Can add a program called Classic Shell to revert Win 8 to older look and feel
- general consensus that IT staff are still getting numerous help desk calls about Win 7 – there is concern that upgrading to Win 8 will only increase help desk calls
- Win 8 seems more geared to personal users
- Win 8 has a different method for connecting to a network – Map Drives no longer there
- No more file paths, have to search
- Geared more toward the non-techie, it seems
File Transfer & Cloud Storage
- Apple, 5 GB of iCloud free
- Dropbox, 2 GB free (next 100 GB/$99 yearm, is encrypted but not HIPAA compliant)
- Google Drive, 30 GB (encrypted if get business version)
- Ignite by Citrix for file transfer and storage
Donor Management Databases
- Should/does it fall under Marketing or Tech?
- Content support – marketing function
- IT – for integration w/ website etc.
- If small shop, sometimes have to do both
- Different skill set for each side, content and technical
- Facebook and other Ads – should come from marketing’s budget
- Social media policies are a good idea (sample policies available here)
- Social media committee also useful way to manage it
- Google places – have to get verified
- Can “claim” address etc. & include logo & keywords
- Desktop component
- Online component
- Office 365 info sheet for nonprofits (thanks, Johna!)
- 2013 “Cartoonish” looking
- Exchange 2013 lacks public folders (mailboxes instead)
- NPOs get discount ($4.50/user per monthly)
- Can access apps offline
- Get bigger exchange mailbox
- Better collaboration included in 365, but easier for tech savvy folks
- Capital vs. operating expenditures (Always a concern)
Document Management Systems / Board Portals
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 / email@example.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.
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.
This was our final month at UCP/CLASS in Regent Square! Once again, thank you to Michelle Hines and the UCP/CLASS staff for permitting us to use their space.
NOTE: There is no *regular* B&B meeting in June. Instead we have Bagels & Bytes on a Boat, our “summer outing,” on June 13. As in the past, we will hold our meeting on RiverQuest’s boat Explorer. Get more information and find out how to RSVP here.
Resources and Notes from our May Meeting
- Sharepoint (general discussion)
- Makes document “versioning” easier
- Saves file space and allows for better document management
- Can start with the free edition and add capacity gradually or later
- If you have a lot of docs, you should probably install Sharepoint on its own server
- Windows 7 search is not as compatible with these files
- Helps to decrease duplicate saved files across a network
- Physical relocation of an organization’s office
- Import to pull in tech and other departments
- Planning for tech is crucial from early on
- Case Management software
- Remote PC access
- Getting tech support from large companies
- Best time to call seems to be ~ 10 a.m. EST
- Seems like one is less likely to be sent to off-shore representatives at this time of morning
- Payroll solutions
The 2012 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar is here.
This month we met at UCP/CLASS‘s (relatively) new building in Regent Square! A huge thank you goes to Michelle Hines of UCP/CLASS for not only hosting the meeting, but for taking care of the food and running the meeting while Cindy Leonard was away at the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference.
We will meet one more time in this location on Wednesday, May 2, 8:30 – 10 AM, at the UCP/CLASS building just off the Parkway East (1400 S. Braddock). Visit the 2012 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar for more information.
Resources and Notes from the Meeting (also compiled by Michelle – thank you!!)
- Telephone Recycling
- Look at existing vendor as part of the sell agreement
- Family Resources had a 3rd Party company they found
- Credit Card Processing
- PCI Compliance was discussed in regards to how you do credit card processing.
- Some solutions discussed:
- Existing vendors who you use might have options:
- Migration to WordPress from a CMS
- Suggested talking to Cindy from the Bayer Center more (yes, please do at the next meeting – am sorry i missed this discussion!)
- Great resources can be found if you search carefully on YouTube – especially helpful for training other staff.
- Suggested making your own personal blog to get used to WordPress
- Other options than WordPress
- Some stories about project outcomes from Technology Consulting in the Community from CMU http://www.cmu.edu/tcinc/
- Shared information on the Pittsburgh Chapter of the SharePoint User Group http://www.pittsburghsharepoint.com/pages/home.aspx
- A good resource for computer licenses that you may not be able to get on Tech Soup is Constant Computer Bargains http://www.ccbnonprofits.com/
- A discussion about how good Microsoft has made Office 365 look but need reviews on if Office 365 works like the presentation or is it truly lagging behind Google Apps.
- Shared April Fools Pranks
- Users leaving computer unlocked having auto text generated for them
- Changing ringtone to the Emergency Weather tone
- Tiger Direct’s personal nuclear power plant
- For other you can visit this website: http://www.geekosystem.com/april-fools-2012/
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):
- Places to buy equipment
- E-cycling resources
- Other random topics of discussion:
- Wifi implementation
- Cisco switches tend to be more expensive, HP switches less so
- Sometimes worth it to pay more up front and have less issues later (less expensive doesn’t mean better deal necessarily)
- With Cisco, you have to install their wifi/switches if you ever plan to use a Cisco IP phone system
- Board meeting packets – electronic vs. paper
- Might use board portal software to pull this off
- Perhaps issue Nooks, Kindles or iPads?
- Discuss with board to discern culture and willingness to go digital
- Listen and deal with security concerns
- Be sure to provide clear access instructions for board members
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!
This month we met for the final time this year (holiday party notwithstanding), once again at ACHIEVA on the South Side. Thank you to Steve, Dave, and their staff for hosting us!
Here are the resources and links from the meeting:
- Tech culture discussion – what are our “ideals” for the tech culture at our nonprofits?
- Having management and leadership that “get it,” realize the critical nature of IT, and validate that fact to other staff through their words and actions. (We must continue to educate upper management that IT is a tool that can be used to help improve the agency.)
- Technology is not an “afterthought” but is deliberately included in all planning endeavors.
- Policies and procedures include IT.
- Communication flows (how the information is transmitted to tech) are deliberate and concrete.
- Tech staff (or accidental techies) have respect and credibility within the organization, something that is influenced partially by upper management.
- Unhappy end users are dealt with so as to keep a positive and stable tech culture.
- Technology management is proactive rather than reactive.
- There is knowledge of the cost of IT, including direct and indirect costs.
- Post-meeting, Johna from Allegheny Conference shared some info on SharePoint:
- Dave from ACHIEVA emailed a few links:
B&B HOLIDAY PARTY
Friday, December 3 from 1 – 4 p.m.
We will meet in the lobby of Dave & Buster’s in the Waterfront at 1 p.m., then take a group vote on where to have lunch, likely either at Dave & Buster’s or at the Rock Bottom Restaurant across the street. After lunch, we’ll do a “tech” white elephant gift exchange, then go have some fun at Dave & Buster’s! (The official invite will come out in the next week or so via email, so keep an eye out for that and remember to RSVP.)
Get 2010 and 2011 B&B meeting info and location/directions here.
This was our last month meeting at ACHIEVA on the South Side. There are no Bagels & Bytes meetings in January (except for the Westmoreland group). For the 2010 schedule, visit The Bagels & Bytes Calendar (including directions).
Here are the various resources and topics discussed during this month’s meeting:
- Google Wave beta – several of us are playing around with this new social media/communications tool
- Keeping equipment inventory
- Built-in software if available
- Need to get accounting involved at some point
- Simple Access database and assign tracking tags/numbers to pieces of equipment
- Some attempting in SharePoint
- Might use interns
- Have to stay on top of it
- Spiceworks.com – has inventory & help desk functionality – free version or pay if don’t like advertisements
- DonorPro fundraising software by TowerCare Technologies
- Several B&B people moving to it soon
- Reasonable cost (about half the monthly cost of Razor’s Edge)
- DonorPro does data conversion too
- Talked about NPOs’ reluctance to do cloud computing
- Email archiving
- Google software/products
- Can now set up Gmail with organization’s own domain name
- Lots of other Google collaboration tools besides email and calendar
- Google now has shared folders – can set permissions user-by-user
- How to track time when employees start working from home
- Some allow exempt employees to work remotely but not non-exempt
- Time tracking is a mgmt. and HR issue, not a tech issue
- Have to prioritize tech projects and focus on the most important first – so don’t do all of them half-ways
Our next meeting will be held at Amani International Coffee House on the North Side, on February 3, 2010. Please note that we are now holding our meeting from 8:30 – 10 am each month.