News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Community Buzz

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 06/25/2007 - 9:03am
News and buzz from people and organizations in the nonprofit tech sector.


> Stories for Change is the place to find people who are telling their stories digitally. You can read inspiring stories about social change, find resources to help get your story out there, and trade tips with other online storytellers.

> Amnesty International is using satellite images to tell the story of the crisis in Darfur. They've created the Eyes on Darfur web site to document atrocities in areas that watchdogs don't have access to, bringing the story out into the open to catalyze action.


> MAPC, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, has collected town, city, county, state, national (census and other), private, educational, police and other data referencing the Boston region and created the Metro DataCommon. You can find everything from high school dropout rates to transit times in the Boston area. It's a great example of the power that integrated data can lend your story.


> Code For Change is building a community of people who want to put their programming skills to work on open source software that will change the world in a "get your hands dirty and move mountains kind of way". Their first release: a stand alone CiviCRM.

> For all of you out there working on software for social change, don't forget that the deadline for the $10,000 Antonio Pizzigati Prize For Software in the Public Interest is coming up on August 1st. For more information see our blog post.

Online Civics Lessons Disguised as Games

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 06/21/2007 - 2:03pm
You don't have to scour Ebay, hoping to spend real money on a character, to enjoy online Role Play Games. Harkening back to the days of the Oregon Trail, a new generation of game designers is hoping to entertain and educate at the same time.

Nokia and Vodafone Launch New Wiki Site on Mobiles for Change

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Wed, 06/20/2007 - 6:28am

Nokia and Vodafone have launched a new wiki, Share Ideas, designed to help distribute ideas about how mobile phones can be used in civil society.

We here at NTEN and are pleased to have played a small part in the process of creating the site, bringing people and ideas from the network to the table. We are thrilled that after two years of hard work, there is increasing recognition and knowledge about how critical mobile phones are as a tool for social change and how important it is for civil society organizations to share ideas and resources.

Please check it out!

From the Affinity Groups: Spiffy Software for Online Dialogue Exchange

Submitted by Visitor on Tue, 06/19/2007 - 3:04pm
The NTEN Affinity Groups are great sounding boards for folks looking for technology recommendations. Our NTEN Discuss Email Archive members recently investigated the tools and software packages that can aid in online web-conferencing and conversation.

Minneapolis Begins Muni WiFi Rollout

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 06/19/2007 - 8:38am

Minneapolis is rolling out its Muni WiFi on a large scale this week. Beyond the "Hooray for Free/Cheap Internet Access" reaction, it's my hope that this particular project will also be a great investment in the community. Minneapolis nonprofits and citizens groups lobbied hard for a digital inclusion strategy that would provide resources and actual funding to address the digital divide in Minneapolis. They also insisted that the contractor, local ISP US Internet, guarantee network neutrality. Mad props to C-CAN and NTEN NTC speaker Catherine Settani for their great advocacy work.

If your community is considering or implementing a municipal wireless program, you need to get involved! If you are part of an organization that directly interacts with the neediest in your community, you have the most to gain from community wireless -- but only if you get involved and fight for favorable terms. Check out NTEN's report on the nonprofit role in municipal wireless programs: No Strings Attached.

Thanks to NTEN member Rick Birmingham for the heads up.

Google Earth for Nonprofits Launch

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 10:56am

The new Google Earth Initiative for Nonprofits will be launched next week in NYC. As I mentioned in a previous post, there have been many amazing applications of Google Earth by and for nonprofits and their causes recently. If you're looking for some inspiration about how to use Google Earth for good (or you just need an eye-opening way to spend an hour today), you should check out the Google Earth Gallery, where you can find maps of the world's oil consumption, Somalia refugee migration, or the destruction of villages in Darfur. (You'll need to download Google Earth to appreciate these examples in all their glory.)

No word yet on what the new program will entail, but Google does tend to do things in style, so I'm certainly looking forward to finding out. Here are the details of the event:

Speakers include:

  • Jane Goodall, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace
  • Kathy Bushkin Calvin, Executive Vice President, United Nations Foundation
  • Edward Wilson, President and CEO, Earthwatch Institute
  • Elliot Schrage, Vice President, Global Communications and Public Affairs, Google
  • John Hanke, Director, Google Earth and Maps

Lucky for us, Google WILL be posting a full video of the event online after it happens, so check back for a link.

From the Affinity Groups: Where to Host Those Large Files?

Submitted by Visitor on Wed, 06/13/2007 - 2:50pm
The NTEN Affinity Groups are great sounding boards for folks looking for technology recommendations. The 501 Tech Club DC recently polled its members for suggestions as to where and how to store large online files for downloading purposes.

Will Municipal Wireless Plans Leave You Disconnected?

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 06/13/2007 - 2:45pm

A recent CNET story asserts that small towns may have to wait a while -- a very long while -- before vendors get around to implementing municipal wireless projects with them. While cities like San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia have announced major partnerships with the likes of Earthlink and Google to provide free or low cost wireless access to their citizens, smaller towns aren't able to attract the attention of the vendors.

Cole Reinwald, vice president of product strategy and marketing for Earthlink Municipal Networks says that right now:

"We should be looking at cities with densities of about 2,500 people per square mile. As tech costs drop, we'll be able to bring that number down."

Looking to Learn Google Analytics?

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 06/13/2007 - 9:05am

What are visitors doing on your site? Where DO they come from? And what in the world does it all mean? Google Analytics can help you answer all of these questions, for free. As Katrin blogged a few weeks ago, the newsest version is incredible: beautiful and powerful, like a great first date. Of course, it's also like a first date in that it can be utterly confusing. With so many choices, so many possibilities, it's hard to know where to begin.

Never fear! We nabbed one of the most amazing analytics gurus out there for a webinar next week. Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Evangelist for Google and author of "Web Analytics: An Hour a Day" will present this webinar on Wednesday, June 20:

Google Analytics is undoubtedly one of the most powerful web analytics packages out there. NTEN wants to help you unlock the power of Google Analytics. In this hands-on webinar, Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Analytics Evangelist, will teach you how to use web analytics reports to understand the performance of your web site in terms of measuring progress toward your organizational goals, but also to help you understand who your web site visitors are, where they come from, and what they’re doing on your site. You'll leave the webinar with actionable tips and tricks you can use right away, regardless of your skill level.

> Register Today!

Healthy Developments

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 06/12/2007 - 3:47pm
No less an authority than the News Hour with Jim Lehrer highlighted the increased use of telemedicine in international development last week. Jim Grady, who, with his wife, Peg, laid the foundations of Medical Missions for Children using $85,000 of their own retirement money, spoke about the video clinics MMC has set up in 27 top U.S. and European hospitals, as well as the new Medical Broadcasting Channel, which streams more than 25,000 hours of medical programming to thousands of institutions worldwide.