Rob Dolin's Blog

Thoughts on technology, politics, non-profits, and their intersections; and food

At $1,500 $GOOG Glass is an “I’m Rich” App :(

One of my tech industry colleagues purchased a developer version of Google Glass and I got to try it a few months ago. Combining a smartphone operating system, heads-up display, camera, and and microphone into a head-mounted unit is an exciting idea in wearable technology. Unfortunately, Google’s offering this to the public for $1,500 as was announced on Tue, 4/15 makes this a fashion accessory similar to the old Apple iOS “I’m Rich” app which sold for $999 and had minimal functionality beyond proving that the owner had deep pockets. I hope that Google (or other wearable and smart device manufacturers) bring their pricing closer to the cost of components and democratize this technology instead of creating another way for people with excess cash to declare themselves wealthy “glassholes.”

Filed under: Technology

Idea: Open Broadband Performance Survey (OpenBPS) #CodeAcross #OpenDataDay #ODD14

As part of today’s Open Data Day, I’m interested in finding (or building) a large set of data on how broadband Internet connections actually perform. The original questions that got me thinking about this were discussed at a City of Seattle Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (@CTTAB) meeting:

  • What is a good minimum level of broadband service?
  • While Internet service providers (ISPs) claim service up to XX Mbps, what is their actual service range?

If you’re interested in taking 30-60 seconds to contribute data about your (wired or cellular) Internet connection, please do so here: http://surveymonkey.com/s/OpenBPS.

Filed under: Technology

Free tools for group video chat – Try with your family for the holidays

Whether you’re organizing a board meeting, a strategy meeting for your favorite cause, or virtually celebrating winter holidays with family members in another city.  Technology has the potential for us not just to share text and audio, but to share live video.  You’ll need the three below items to get started:

  • Camera – You’ll need a computer or phone with a webcam.  Most recent laptops and smartphones have one built-in.  If you have a desktop computer, you can buy a basic webcam starting around $15-$20 that plugs-in to your computer.
  • Broadband Internet – Video files are not small so you’ll want a pretty good Internet connection because the quality of your experience will be dependent on your Internet bandwidth.  A wired broadband Internet connection or wi-fi are good ways to go.  A fast cellular network will also work, but if you have the option to connect to wi-fi, you may want to consider this because real-time video uses a good amount of bandwidth
  • Video Chat Software – You’ll need software running on both ends for video chat.  I describe three software options below and some pros and cons of each;

As today is Dec. 24th and many people have today and/or tomorrow off of work, I recommend trying a video chat with family.  Happy Holidays–
Rob

Filed under: Technology

Five free tools to better communicate to members and leaders of your non-profit or political organization

The winter holiday season is a great time for the leadership of non-profit and political organizations to upgrade their organization’s infrastructure.  Below are five areas of opportunity

1. Email Blasts: MailChimp – According to Jon Carson, the Executive Director of Organizing for America, Email is still the workhorse for OFA’s work.  For most non-profit and political organizations, this is likely the case and MailChimp offers free email blast service for lists up to 2,000 subscribers with their “Entrepreneur” pricing level.

2. Email Listserv: YahooGroups or GoogleGroups – While email blasts are great for periodic messages to your entire membership or supporters list, you’ll also want to be able to communicate among your leadership.  While this is relatively easy to do by just putting everyone’s email in the TO and CC lines, these services offer easy reflection, optional digest, private archiving, and more.  When a person joins (or leaves), its easy to add (or remove them) from a single place.

3. Shared Documents: Dropbox or SkyDriveYour organization likely has shared documents like contact lists, budgets, program/project plans, and more.  Like the email listserv, getting everything into a single shared Dropbox or SkyDrive folder makes adding (and removing) people easier.  instead of searching for all of the shared documents, you just share the folder.  This also prevents the “hit-by-bus” problem where one person is the gatekeeper or has all of the organization’s information.  If they’re ever hit by a bus (or otherwise leave the organization) everyone has copies of the organizations key documents.

4. Remote Participation: Skype or Google Hangouts – Even for an organization where people all live in the same neighborhood, some may work or travel elsewhere and it’s nice to be able to accommodate remote participants; OR if your organization has people spread over multiple geographies, it’s time to move beyond audio-only conference calls.  Skype is offering free group video for a year: http://collaboration.skype.com/ and though it doesn’t have as broad platform support, Google Hangouts offers similar group video.

5. Social Media Management: Hootsuite – Your organization probably has a presence on Facebook and Twitter; but managing these can be time consuming.  For managing organization social media, I’m a huge fan of HootSuite.  Their interface lets you create tabs and columns for views like Twitter @replies, #Hashtag searches, and more.  You can also build a list of profiles that you want to watch whose content you might often cross-post.

I hope you’ve found this post useful.  Depending on interest and response, I’ll post more about these and other communication tools for your non-profit or political group.  Happy Holidays–
Rob

P.S. I’m also eager to hear what you think is missing from the above list. 

Filed under: Technology

@LibertyMutual Ad Targeting #FAIL on @Facebook using @DerrickSkaug #UW != #WSU /cc @AaronGoldman

There are a number of things wrong with the below ad:image

1. Derrick Skaug is a rabid Washington State University (WSU) Cougar fan (not a University of Washington (UW) Husky fan)

2. Consider targeting my undergraduate alma mater: the University of Illinois

3. I’m partially color-blind, but the painted face looks blue and white.  These are not the UW colors of purple and gold. 

Filed under: Technology

What do you think of these food recommendations for Montreal?

One of my professional colleagues and I were talking about comfort food and he recommended the following from Montreal:

Schwartz And The Brisket we’ll be picking up at Christmas; and Bagels St Viateur

If you’ve been to Montreal, what do you think?

Thanks–
Rob

Filed under: Food and Drink

Crowdsourcing a computer for students

I’m obviously biased, but I think this program for students to crowdsource the funds to buy a computer for school is really great: https://www.WindowsChipIn.com/

Like many other crowdsourcing platforms, users can define a project or goal and ask family, friends, and strangers to donate a small portion of the cost.  What makes this program stand-out is:

  • Microsoft is funding the first 10% – You’ll notice prices at https://www.windowschipin.com/BrowsePC end in some odd numbers (ex: a Surface RT is $314) this is because it’s down 10% ($35) from the retail price of $349.
  • The PC will come with Office 365 University pre-loaded – As good as some web-based office suites are, having the gold standard in document, spreadsheet/list, and presentation creation is super-useful; and I’m a big fan of Outlook for email and calendar management and OneNote for both personal note organization and group project collaboration. 

I know that not everyone wants one of these PC’s.  (I didn’t see the Dell XPS 12 convertible ultrabook as one of the options.)  So I’m also curious: Do Apple, Google, Samsung, RIM, Ubuntu, or others offer a similar program for Macs, iPads, Chromebooks, Android, or BlackBerry?  I hope they do. 

Filed under: Education, Microsoft, Technology

Great morning run with the dog until…

… I realized that my tracker was set to kilometers instead of miles. 

Filed under: Exercise

Support Fellow Young Democrat Candidates

Earlier this week, two friends who also ran to serve as YDA national officers in 2005 stood for City Council in their respective hometowns; and later this year, two other fellow Young Democrats will be standing for re-election.   Please consider supporting them via their websites and Facebook pages listed below.  Thanks—
Rob Dolin

Alex De Ocampo
for Los Angeles City Council

Alex served as President of the California Young Democrats and was a candidate for YDA President in 2005
Donate
Alex on Facebook

 

Stephanie Hausner
for Clarkston Town Council

Stephanie served as Secretary and National Committeewoman for the Young Democrats of America.
Website
Stephanie on Facebook

Chris Anderson
for Chattanooga City Council

Chris served as President of the Tennessee Young Democrats and was a candidate for YDA President in 2009
Donate
Chris on Facebook

 

Alexander Lewy for Hallandale Beach City Commissioner

Alexander served as President of the Florida Young Democrats and Chair of the Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus.
Donate
Alexander on Facebook

Filed under: News and Politics

How to Post a Facebook Event to your Facebook Page

This blog post provides step-by-step instructions and pictures of how to post a Facebook Event to your Facebook Page.

Facebook Events are a great way to socially spread the word about an event; but sometimes you don’t just want to tell your friends, you want to post a Facebook Event for all of the people who like a Facebook Page.

As an Administrator of a Facebook page, here’s how to post an event to that page:

1. Navigate to your Facebook Page

2. Scroll down the page until you see tools:
[Your Page Name | Timeline | Now]

3. Click on Timeline and select Events (as shown below)

image

4. Now click the [ + Create Event ] button on the top right:

image

5. Enter your event information and click the [Create] button

image

CONGRATULATIONS!  Your event is now posted!

image

 

Now there are a number of things you can do to make your event more compelling and to encourage more YES RSVP’s:

A) Add a photo by clicking the [Add Event Photo] button (top right side):

image

B) RSVP yourself by clicking the [Join] button (tip right side):

image

C) Share the event by clicking the Share link (left column):

image

Filed under: Social Networking

Rob Dolin on Twitter

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