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ICT E-Bulletin - December 2011

By Lasa Information Systems Team

A source of technology news, resources and advice for small to medium sized third sector organisations.

Lasa news

Conference reports now online

This November, our Technology Conference, Powering Up The Third Sector, at the IBM Forum London was judged by delegates through the online evaluation survey to be a huge success.

  • 100% of respondents rated the Conference “Good” or “Excellent”
  • 120 delegates came to the Conference with 24 CEO’s present
  • 26 organisations were represented at the CEO Breakfast Briefing
  • 6 funders played a part in the day
  • ‘Networking with others’ was the most popular reason for attending with ‘finding out about a specific idea or technology’ a close second.

The material from the conference is now available on the knowledgebase where you can:

  • watch the breakout session presentations and reports
  • view the keynote presentation from NTEN's Holly Ross
  • see an interview with UK Digital Champion and keynote speaker Martha Lane Fox
  • read a transcript of the panel debate on whether chief executives need to 'speak geek'
  • hear and watch audio and video interviews
  • see photos of delegates and speakers


Online community benchmark report launched

Sift Groups have published the first ever annual report (pdf, 820Kb, free, name and email required) looking at the ‘who’, ‘what’, why’ and ‘how’ of online engagement and the use of online communities within the charity sector. The report is based on a survey of 100 similar organisations, 39 of which have their own online communities.

French IT giant to ban internal email

The boss of Atos has outlined plans to ban internal email by 2014 according to a report on the BBC. His plan was described as both “bold” and “stupid”. The company has been made aware that new employees are unused to using email applications such as Microsoft Outlook having been more used to Facebook and instant messaging and the amount of time spent on dealing with email by staff.

Top Twitter tags tell tale of twentyeleven

The BBC reports that the highest ranking hashtag of the year was #egypt, reflecting the unrest in the country. Tellingly, another top ten tag was #idontunderstandwhy  which probably sums up the year for many Twitter users...

How to lift the digital age barrier

The amount of people over 65 using the internet, 30%, is still the same as it was in 2005. Dan Jellinek on the Guardian Older Peoples’ Housing Hub reports on a roundtable discussion  to see how they can be encouraged to get online.

How to get to digital by default

As the Government Digital Service (GDS) is launched, Mark Say on Guardian Government Computing examines the road to “digital by default”.

Events, training & learning

London Events Calendar

For London technology events please see our Events Calendar. Forthcoming events include Paul Ticher’s data protection webinars and the Government ICT Conference 2012.

StudyPass launched

KnowHow NonProfit is offering subscription based unlimited 24/7 access to its StudyZone online learning platform for individuals and organisations. from £9.99/month.

More Helpline help

The Helplines Association has announced further training courses for the New Year on Essential Telephone Skills, Essential Email Skills, Developing Telephone Skills and Responding to Emotional Content. THA can also bring their onsite training to your office and train  up to 12 staff, anywhere in Britain and Ireland.

Web Accessibility Essentials course now available

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, AbilityNet, and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT have launched the Web Accessibility Essentials course. The 80 minute online course offers guidance on best practice across all areas of digital content creation equips individuals and businesses with a fundamental understanding of digital inclusion, the legal issues surrounding it, and the skills to make simple, effective changes.

New online skills evaluation tool for IT professionals

The National Skills Academy for IT has launched a brand new online evaluation tool, the IT Professional Profile, to complement resources already available through subscription to the National Skills Academy for IT. The IT Professional Profile is a free online tool that allows people working in IT to evaluate their skills against the industry benchmark, the IT Professional Standards.

NTEN NonProfit Technology Conference 2012

NTEN’s annual conference, the NTC, takes place next year on 3-5 April at the Hilton San Francisco, California, USA. Early bird places should still be available.

Funding and awards

Big money for advice services

Civil Society reports  that The Big Fund will deliver a new £16.8m government fund to support third sector advice-giving in England which have suffered statutory funding cuts.

Resources, legal and accessibility

NTEN Change magazine out now

The December issue of NTEN’s magazine for technology leaders (available free upon registration) is out now and features case studies on systems organisations can use to  track their constituents. Other articles examine livestreaming, Google+ and asks if your organisation is failure-friendly...

Social Media guide updated

Idealware have recently updated their popular NonProfit Social Media Decision Guide (available as pdf download, registration required). In their words “We created the Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide to help organizations like yours determine what results and benefits you can reasonably expect from social media, and to guide you through the process of identifying the right channels for different goals”.

Using social media as an effective lobbying tool

World Development Movement's Christine Haigh on the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network explains why they chose to use social media to lobby against food speculation.

College relocates data to green facility in Iceland

Mark Say on The Guardian’s Government Computing looks at  a data centre in Iceland which uses geo-thermal energy to keep the servers warm in winter...

Practical tips

Get the most out of your email

Groundwire offers some advice on getting constituent engagement by using ye olde fashioned email with these five points.

Having trouble with a web service?

Downrightnow is a “crowd sourced service monitor” which gives information derived from users and official status notices as to the availability of web-based services such as Googlemail, Hotmail, Facebook, FourSquare, YouTube and so on.

Some seasonal green advice

Global Action Plan via VitAL Mag offer some pointers to saving the planet this festive season (not all technology-related, but useful none the less).

Buying new computers?

This TechSoup Learning Centre article provides 7 questions to ask yourself to will help you make the right decisions. Question 1 - do you need a new computer?

Tools and applications

Reasons to be cheerful

CharityeMail, the email broadcast service, is offering 2 tempting reasons why you should try it out this winter:

  1. The cost of its starting band is now reduced to £0. Send fewer than 500 emails per month and it's free.
  2. Its new drag & drop editing system makes creating an email as easy as can be.

Even email marketing system novices find it straightforward. CharityeMail provides everything you need to build your emails, manage address books and test and send out campaigns. There's no set-up fee for the professional version (£75 for enterprise) or admin costs, free support (8am-6pm 7 days a week), no monthly charges, free training, quick start guides and advice. Even if you go over 500 emails per month you are only charged (at less than 0.5p per email) for what you send, with no fees in months you send no emails.

Word Press vs Drupal - it’s serious

Our old friend Michelle Murrain in an NTEN blog piece pitches two of the best known and mature open source content management systems against each other in this heavyweight contest.

Where are we?

Batchgeo is a free online service which generates a map of locations from a spreadsheet and creates a web page. An example of the use of Batchgeo can be seen at Parkinson’s UK where it shows the locations of people who have commented on the services of Parkinson’s nurses. amMap is a downloadable free application which can create flash maps and covers both the UK as a whole or regions.

Edit videos in YouTube

SocialBrite provides  an easy to follow step-by-step guide to editing your videos within YouTube.


Internet is the most powerful tool for social innovation

The internet is the single most powerful tool for social innovation that we have ever had says Annika Small, director of Nominet Trust in an article over on Social Enterprise and gives some positive examples.


Tal Frankfurt of Cloud For Good relates a salutary story on the NTEN blog of an organisation who confused cloud security with control.

How long can web 2.0 remain free to access?

Andrew Orlovski ponders on whether the existing “free to access” model for social media can remain free of charge.

How social media is ruining your mind

Aaron Saenz at Singularity Hub examines an infographic produced by Assisted Living Today Assisted Living Facilities...

And finally

The Internet helpdesk - from 2001


About the author

Lasa Information Systems Team
Lasa's Information Systems Team provides a range of services to third sector organisations including ICT Health Checks and consulting on the best application of technology in your organisation. Lasa IST maintains the knowledgebase. Follow us on Twitter @LasaICT


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Published: 14th December 2011

Copyright © 2011 Lasa Information Systems Team

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