News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Boston Joins the Wirleless Revolution, Modestly

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 04/03/2008 - 11:57am

Flickr Photo: pfhyperMunicipal wireless became a dirty word a few months back. The stories out of San Francisco and Philadelphia were salacious, making the idea of wireless Internet access seem like a pipe dream.

The truth of the matter is that many towns have made it work, and many large cities are still committed to bringing the Internet to ALL their citizens, affordably. Look at Boston. Why haven't you heard about the Boston municipal wireless initiative before now? Probably because they are taking the slow and steady approach. This week, they had their first victory, getting a one square mile patch of the city covered.

With the ashes of so many municipal wireless contracts swirling around us, what makes places like Minneapolis and Boston (and the still viable Philadelphia plan) work? The answer in the case of Minneapolis and Boston is community ownership.

Ask a Question, They Will Answer

Submitted by Anna on Thu, 04/03/2008 - 11:53am
lol ntenny

Here at NTEN, with Spring in the air and the sun blasting into our 13th floor office, we're feeling motivated to change the world. NTEN Discuss seems to be feeling energized by the start of Spring, as well.

Sheldon Mains asked what people recommend as a time tracking database (with the disclaimer that it was one of those questions that is asked every 6 months or so). As the responses came in, Allen Gunn, from Aspiration Tech, decided to compile all the suggested solutions in a Social Source Commons "Time Tracking" Toolbox so that "next time", the questioner can just be directed there. The RSS Feed on the Toolbox will keep you updated as additional tools are added.

Salesforce.com/Foundation 2008 Grant Round Now Open

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 04/02/2008 - 12:49pm
The Salesforce.com/Foundation has just announced two new grant opportunities for 2008.  If you are a Salesforce user, you could earn up to $15,000 for your organization.  They have two types of grants during this round:

TURN IT UP GRANTS
The Salesforce.com Foundation is excited to announce the third annual Turn It Up grant round!  These grants, valued at 10,000 USD each, are designed to help existing salesforce.com license donation recipients enhance their use of the salesforce.com application.  Turn It Up grants will be awarded to nonprofits whose use of the application is most innovative and beneficial to the global nonprofit community.

TECHNOLOGY GRANT FOR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

The Salesforce.com Foundation announces the 2008 Technology Grants for Youth Development!  The Technology Grants for Youth Development will be awarded to visionary nonprofit organizations whose focus rests on youth development, for technology projects or solutions that advance the organization's core mission.  These grants will be awarded in increments of 5,000 USD ranging from 10,000 to 15,000.

 

 

Women Who Tech Wrap Up

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 04/01/2008 - 10:22am

Flickr Photo: kzarrr75Flickr Photo: kzarrr75I spent eight hours on the phone yesterday -- and I don't even have a headset. Though the pain in my neck was mighty by the end of the day, it was well worth it. The Women Who Tech Telesummit was a fantastic event!

My big takeaways:

  1. Don't be afraid of the word "boobs".
  2. You can build community in a virtual space if everyone is willing.
  3. Our community is becoming much savvier about web based learning tools.

SubZero Technology: Minneapolis Style!

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 03/31/2008 - 12:34pm
Sheldon MainsSheldon MainsLast week, I had the great pleasure of attending the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Technology and Communications Conference. I went to A LOT of events. Some things are always the same -- the chicken lunch, for example. Minneapolis had a bunch of really cool takeaways, though:

Things We Like: March 2008

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 03/31/2008 - 12:00pm
A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources. Read more posts on our blog.
  1. David Pogue. The NYT technology columnist rocked the NTC. Here he is singing two songs during his plenary. Afterward, he sat down for an interview with Holly.
  2. Utterz.com features bad grammar and a bizarre cow theme, but a cool service: audio blogging from your mobile phone. We used it at the NTC.
  3. The National World War 2 Museum in New Orleans. They even sponsor WWII-themed trips to Europe.
  4. LOLSeals. The Humane Society's new campaign gets everything right.
  5. The NOLA Food Map. Great -- and greatly useful -- Google Maps mash-up to help residents locate food. Must. not. make. mashed. potatoes. joke. Oh, damn.
  6. Emeril's New Orleans may be a name restaurant, but the food was innovative and well executed, and the service, impeccable: our table of 8 was served by 4 waiters, who set our dinners down simultaneously. Don't order the dessert sampler unless you bring the New Orleans Saints.
  7. Loopt. It lets you map your friends' current locations. But might it not be more useful if you could map your enemies?
  8. NOLA YURP. And not just because it's fun to say.

How To: Put Technology to Use: March 2008

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 03/31/2008 - 12:00pm
Your guide to resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

Contribute to the Rebuilding Effort

> Probably the biggest mental barrier to donating online is wondering whether or not your money will be put to good use. During the NTC, we worked with people from both the Community Center of St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association (NENA). Both groups are doing good work at ground level.

> Since it just wouldn't be right for us not to mention a social networking site at least once, check out the Facebook Cause set up for the Community Center.

> You can learn about more Louisiana nonprofits at LouisianaRebuilds.info, an aggregator of local resources and stories, and the Lousiana Association of Nonprofits (LANO), whose name pretty much speaks for itself.

Volunteer in New Orleans

> Patricia Jones, Executive Director of NENA, told NTC attendees, "We are grateful for infusions of volunteers and support to help us catch our next wind... If you people know how to help us, bring it on." Dozens of NPTechies donated their time before the NTC at the Day of Service, and we thank them all for their commitment and passion.

> If you'd like to volunteer your time, you might want to take a look at Volunteer New Orleans, the Greater New Orleans Volunteer Connection, or, for a more specific project, the St. Bernard Project. You can find more resources on LouisianaRebuilds.info.

Connect with New Orleanians

> We're pretty convinced that you can't fake being from New Orleans -- where the four seasons "are crawfish, shrimp, crab and erster" -- but it can't hurt to pick up a little of the local dialect. There's even a documentary film about it!

> While we like to think of social networks in terms of Facebook and Twitter these days, it's helpful to remember the term's origins: NPR reports on social clubs in New Orleans. In fact, you might want to explore the entire "Katrina & Recovery" section of NPR.org.

> And, while it might be a little low-tech for some, you should consider -- or encourage your children to consider -- becoming a pen pal.

The Day of Service: NPTechies Give a Little Back

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 3:00pm

The Day of Service, a long-time NTC tradition, gave NPTechies the chance to give something back to the New Orleans community. In spite of some weather related travel delays -- apparently, some pilots didn't want to play hide-and-go-seek with tornadoes -- 2008 saw record volunteer turnout for the DOS.

Volunteers traveled to the Community Center of St. Bernard to install a wireless network, others conducted strategy consults with local nonprofits; later in the day, there was also a video blogging work shop. Additionally, a second team of volunteers, led by some great people from Cisco -- who also donated the hardware for the wireless installation -- went back to St. Bernard to train local residents one-on-one.

Technology's Role in Rebuilding New Orleans

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 2:00pm
Lisa Stansky, New Orleans Legal Assistance

When it comes to using technology to rebuild New Orleans, sometimes less is more. That certainly seemed true immediately after the storm, when there was no power, few or no land lines, and little or no cellular phone service across a swath of the gulf region. Basic communication tools, when they worked, became lifelines, sometimes literally.

What happened? People took baby steps. But the truly remarkable thing, observers note, is that those who were low-tech or no-tech quickly got with the program. Average cell phone users learned how to text. People who never touched a computer keyboard quickly picked up the basics of e-mail communication and online research.

How a Website Can Affect Real Change

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 1:36pm

Deborah Cotton, LouisianaRebuilds.info

There are some words we are so beleaguered by, we don't use them anymore. We don't say Katrina, we just say "the storm" -- or "the Thing".

This is really like living in a civilization that has been shattered and blasted throughout the universe. From the outside looking in, it's hard to imagine the many details that come together to making your life work. Sometimes the basic pieces of information take half a day, even days to track down -- how to get utilities restored, where and when you can find food or gas in your area, how to find your doctor or old medical records.

LouisianaRebuilds.info is dedicated to pulling all the information together that can help people reconstruct their lives.