Tech Tips Liveblog

12 PM We’re about to get started

12:05 PM Michael is explaining PATH – Palmetto Technology Hub is a nonprofit that serves as an Internet help desk for other nonprofits.

Why we’re here? Money’s tight; we need to get more done with less. Nonprofits frequently don’t know what to even ask for on the technology front.

We’re going to talk about hardware, software, social media, people, resources today.

Hardware:

  • Care & Maintenance is critical.
  • Simple things: memory and ventilation.
  • Recommended: once a year, have a day when you pull the PC out from the wall, look at the back, clean out all the dust.  Blow compressed air into it.  Keep pets and food away from the CPU.
  • When you have to buy something new, don’t buy the cheapest.  Get the most you can on your budget.  It will last longer and serve you better.
  • Get a good FREE antivirus program.  Right now, that’s Microsoft Security Essentials.
  •  Recommended: once a year, take care of the registry and temporary files. Options: CCleaner and GlaryUtilities.com
  • Your Internet: check your speed and contract at least every 2 years somewhere like speakeasy.net/speedtest
  • Secure the WiFi.  You are securing your clients & donor’s information, and if someone is wardriving on your network they’re sucking up your speed/bandwidth
  • Don’t forget about physical security.  Tag your equipment, have it physically secured
  • Disaster recovery – 3 2 1 strategy: 3 copies, 2 media, 1 offsite ( multiple redundant online backups)
  • Offsite backup, try something like mozy.com, or crashplan.org.  There are other good ones, too, these are just 2.  This is NOT expensive…from free to $60 a year
Software
  • Standardize!  It reduces training, enables collaboration, makes machines interchangeable if something goes wrong
  • Decide when to upgrade.  Sometimes you don’t need the most recent version, like the newer version won’t open on my PC
  • Consider nontraditional options
    • Open Office or LibreOffice – free & mostly compatible with MS Office
    • Online Office programs – GoogleDocs, ZoHo, etc., helps with remote work & collaboration
      • these eliminate need for backing up files since they’re stored on the cloud
  • FOSS – Free Open Source Softwarware
    • The Gimp = Photoshop
    • Kivio = Visio
    • NVU = Dreamweaver
    • Want more?  Check Open Source Alternative at osalt.com
  • Online file storage, like Dropbox.com or similar sites.  [Watch your Terms Of Service agreements with these – A]
Social Media
  • Stake your claim.  Register your name there even if you don’t think you’ll use it.  Set it up to tell people where you *are* active online
  • If you don’t use it, keep up with what others are saying about you.
  • google.com/alerts – helps you find what people are saying about you.  Sends you a digest of places where you are mentioned online
  • Socialoopmh.com – can look for keywords you specifiy on social media sites – this is a way to keep monitoring simple
Social Media is NOT your home base.  Your web site is your home base!!
Free web hosting for nonprofits is out there, including at dreamhost.com
You need to own & have control over your own information.  FB, Twitter, etc. own every word you put on them.  Have your own presence.
People!
  • are your biggest asset
  • institutional knowledge is crucial; tech is a way to keep hard-earned knowledge alive regardless of who comes & goes in your org
  • Buy good keyboards & monitors; this is where stess & strain injuries occur.
  • Ergonomics!!!
  • Train! PATH, library, YouTube, Lynda, etc.  Encourage training.
  • Security. People need passwords.  You can protect from outsides & keep people’s things separate. It preserves job happiness.  No one wants to see someone else’s stuff!  (Pay rate, etc.)
Resources
  • PalmettoTechnologyHub.org
  • TechSoup.org – offers software & hardware for 501(c)3
  • Nten.org – training how to & why
  • The Library!  [Aww!  Thanks, Michael. -A]
Questions
Q. Can you get rid of all the junk on new computers?
A. Decrappify – removes all the junk that gets put on your new PCs by the manufacturers
Q. Why doesn’t MS put MS Security Essentials on there?
A. Antitrust, basically.
Q. How does PATH support itself?
A. Grants and support from businesses like Google, Boeing, etc.
Q: Another BootCamp?
A: June or so next year.
[I’m just saying…Charleston is lucky to have such an altruistic tech community in town. -A]
Want a copy of this presentation?  Download the slidedeck for your viewing pleasure!
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