Archive | November, 2017

Change Happened: Big Data for a Better World 2017

25 Nov

Northeastern Ohio nonprofit innovators met for first annual Big Data for a Better World Conference on November 16 at Hyland Software’s sprawling Westlake, Ohio campus. Leading Hands Through Technology (LHTT) and Workman’s Circle teamed up to offer the event for local nonprofits to discuss how analytics could be used to help their organization’s stay profitable and sustainable. The conference, sponsored by Hyland Software and Kent Displays, captivated the attendees offering participants the chance to ask the panelists and keynote speaker questions.

Panelists included Leon Wilson from the Cleveland Foundation, David M. Holmes from the Foundation Center and Jason Therrien from Thunder::Tech. Moderated by Marc Majers, the founder of LHTT, the session focused on questions ranging from where a nonprofit should start with analytics to how an organization should continue to grow their metrics. Mr. Wilson focused on planning funding for nonprofits so they can ultimately gain traction with their mission. Leon stated that in order to start and grow metrics, organization’s need to carefully plan how they are going to generate donations and funding. Mr Holmes, a veteran of the Foundation Center, highlighted that there is a plethora of free resources to help organizations understand how to increase their reach. David gave examples of groups that walked into his center wondering how to strengthen their efforts and left with a solid game plan. The key to strengthening their efforts was first determining what they wanted to achieve. Jason spoke about using analytics as a bargaining chip to negotiate with other groups; it is amazing how most groups do not understand the value of their data and how they can use it. An organization must harness the power of their own information to effectively change minds.

The panelists stressed that nonprofits conduct an information audit and realize the what they are first own. Once organizations determine the information they have, then they must figure out what to focus on. Start with a goal and then map out a plan to accomplish it – a goal without a plan is just a wish. Find low hanging fruit and get small wins. One of these starting points is website analytics. Mr. Therrien specifically cited an organization that used Google Analytics in conjunction with Google Maps to pinpoint where donations are coming from. After doing the geographical overlay exercise, the organization identified that a high target donor area was not giving because they never canvassed the area. The group also stated that “Big Data” and “Data Scientists” are buzz words and each organization needs to define what these words need. “Big Data” from one organization to another can mean something totally different – do not get lost in the tech jargon.

Todd Packer, co-creator of the event and volunteer from Workman’s Circle, introduced the keynote speaker Kambiz Ghazinour, PhD from Kent State University who lead an intriguing session on how organizations should pay attention to how they encrypt their data. The keynote started by defining how “Big Data” was introduced during the dawn of the Internet and then moved to how it has evolved today.

Kambiz lectured that companies have time and time again run contests to challenge the world to crack their data and the Internet easily figured it out. The professor stressed that with just a few pieces of information like a date of birth, gender or ZIP, a person can be quickly identified. He referenced two examples from NetFlix and Yahoo; the two tech giants thought they had done enough to protect their customer’s identity, but that was far from the truth. Dr. Ghazinour stressed that nonprofit organizations must protect their constituents data at all costs and follow strong tactics to reduce risk of breech. He said, “Anonymization is difficult so any privacy guarantee must be proven and established formally, minimally.” If you would like review the presentation, please continue on SlideShare.

On behalf of Workman’s Circle, Leading Hands Through Technology would like to thank the speakers, sponsors, volunteers and the attendees of the first annual Big Data for a Better World Conference. If you would like to sign up for upcoming LHTT events or donate to the cause, please contact us.


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Apple Fans Paradise

24 Nov

Are you looking for a place to swim in everything Apple? Look no further than the Apple Pit! It brings you all the latest from the world of Apple, and makes an effort to be a knowledge-base on all their products. I just read a good article about how to make the most of 3D touch apps for the iPhone. Check out the latest reviews, descriptions and news breaks on iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Apple Watches! Thanks to James for the link.

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Getting Started With Home Automation

20 Nov

If you are interested in working with smart home technology, you are not alone. Over the past few years, Americans have bought millions of home sensors and automation products designed to make their homes smarter and safer.


Here are some ways that you can get off to a great start using home automation:


Security cameras and sensors:

Twenty years ago, you would like need to get another phone line and have your burglar alarm signal go out on a private circuit or line. Today, your options are much more lightweight. You merely need to decide what type of sensors and functionality that you would like.

It is very possible for you to choose carbon dioxide sensors that can double as fire detectors and blend that with cameras and motion sensors that can be tied to a smartphone application that will allow you to have 24 hour control over your home environment when you are not there. Another difference that you will notice by purchasing in the here and now is that the cost is much less than it used to be for the same level of coverage.

If your security system becomes too complex or sophisticated as you prepare to buy it, you might look at smart hubs that are put out by well known manufacturers like Samsung. Instead of forcing you to use proprietary sensors and cameras, most hubs are standards based and let you use most manufacturer’s equipment. You can then also take advantage of the hub manufacturer’s smart phone application to drive your security system.


Smart thermostat:

One of the most annoying things for people who live in an environment where the weather changes frequently is constantly resetting their thermostat manually. Fortunately, it is possible to upgrade your thermostat for a reasonable price.

Post-upgrade, you should be able to control it via a smartphone application that allows you to schedule when you would like it to start increasing or decreasing your temperature. So if you are in the middle of a cold winter and leave your place unheated while you are gone during the day, using a smart thermostat can take away the inconvenience of coming home to a cold apartment or home. You merely schedule it or turn the heat on while you are still at work. You can then arrive home to a warm house without wasting electricity.


Home entertainment system:

20 years ago, Bill Gates talked about a home system that would allow you to have your own identity within the home and have your house change to match your moods, matching your musical taste, your television programming taste, and your general home environment preferences. Today, it is quite possible to customize your own environment in much the same way without having to spend too much money.

One easy way to get started is to choose a smartphone application that identifies you in each room of your house to your IOT (Internet of Things) devices. You can then have it customize your experience as you move from room to room. You should be able to find applications that can recognize what temperature, music, and lighting that you like quite easily. Of course in a year or two, you should be able to also consider using the latest technology, which uses radar to identify your personal heartbeat and then pass the identification to your smart home system.


Getting started with automation in your home is much easier today than it was in the past. Locating all the features that you want by looking at available security, heating, and entertainment options can help you decide how sophisticated that you want your system to be.

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Do You Need An App To Manage Your Kid’s Smartphone?

19 Nov

Have you tried the Teen Safe App? The app can manage your children’s smartphone usage and safeguard them from harm. The app can block apps and read texts.

Features of the app:

Read texts

  • All SMS/iMessages including deleted texts
  • Call logs and contacts
  • Review device history

Block Apps

  • 3rd party apps like Snapchat and Facebook
  • Control device usage and app schedules
  • Review games, app purchases and eCommerce
  • Instantly pause a device

Check out for more information!

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5 Simple Techniques That Will Give Your Customers Peace of Mind

17 Nov

If your customers aren’t comfortable doing business with you, then they will probably not buy from you again, regardless of how good your product is or how convenient their shopping experience was. The same goes for investors. If your organization operates in a somewhat shady manner or your security systems and servers have been hacked and your site or app hijacked in the past, potential investors and partners will think twice about signing a deal with you. So how do you make them comfortable, enough to gain their trust and continued support? Here’s 5 ways:


Be Transparent

Transparency isn’t something you can overlook nowadays as a nonprofit organization owner. Customers expect full disclosure when it comes to the brands they buy from. By granting access to relevant information, such as the materials used for your product, policies when it comes to returning or exchanging items, and security systems that you use. Customers have peace of mind when they’re navigating through a website that has a verification seal from a third-party security company. Highly trusted security brands include Norton, IBM Security, and Dell SecureWorks. Have the verification seal prominently positioned on your organization’s website or mobile application in a visible area. Placing these seals next to your call-to-action donation button can clearly give the message to the customer that the organization is secured when accepting donations.


Enable Order Tracking

Customers like the option of being able to track their orders in route. Nowadays, customers want to get their orders as fast as possible. Nobody wants to wait for more than two days to get replacement parts for their smartphone or their hair products. With an order tracking tool on your website or mobile app, customers can see where their orders are currently at. And while the location isn’t always accurate, it helps let customers know when or if there are any delays or early deliveries. Most major shipping companies like USPS and DHL can also offer shipping numbers for order tracking through their own network.


Show Them Behind the Scenes

Give your customers a behind-the-scenes tour of how your company manufactures the products that you sell, what technologies you use in the back-end, and the policies you use to ensure data security and product quality. Traditional brick-and-mortar organizations and mom and pop shops can especially take advantage of this tip since they have the physical infrastructure in place. eCommerce portals, on the other hand, can still show clients what goes on behind the curtains by showing them the data centers you use and the remote offices that you rent out.


Encrypt Your Data

In a nutshell, data encryption converts information into another format so that only authorized users who have the key or code to decrypt the data can see it. This is often used for user accounts that contain email and password information. Presently, encryption is one of the most widely used data security techniques utilized by websites and software applications. Encryption solutions are primarily used to secure digital information and maintain user confidentiality. It is stored on databases and transmitted using the web. This can be ideal for a nonprofit organizations, because online donations are commonly done through the organization’s website and this will allow customers to be more likely to give their credit card information without second guessing the protection of information.


Keep Your OS Up to Date

Manufacturers of security systems release upgrades of their products regularly. Make sure the operating systems that are installed on your office computers are up to date. Sign up for automatic notifications concerning new security patches. Hackers and malware programs are constantly changing, and so should the security systems that protect your computers from malicious software. Aside from an updated operating system, software that blocks spam content and detects malicious programs should also be installed in every office computer being used. Last but not least, educate your employees on how to properly handle user information.


Final Thoughts

Giving your customers peace of mind that their personal information is secure encourages them to do more business with you. Use the five tips above to reinforce your organization with robust security safeguards that can deter any potential intruders and prevent any cataclysmic breaches in the future.

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Get Your Bing Points!

8 Nov

What if you could get free stuff for just searching online? With Bing you can earn points each time you search. Use Bing for searches and earn 1 credit for every 2 searches, up to a maximum of 10 credits per day. Complete the tasks in your Bing Rewards dashboard and earn even more points. If you invite friends to use Bing Rewards, you can earn 100 credits for each friend who reaches Silver status. It’s fun to search and earn prizes even if it’s not Google 🙂

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Big Data For A Better World

1 Nov

Does your non-profit need direction on how to properly handle analytics? Are you trying to figure out where to begin with the information you are collecting about your customers? Come to a discussion on how to be effective with the information you are collecting in this big data world.

Join us on Thursday, November 26th to discuss this topic with other non profit professionals in the Cleveland area. This is a conference on how finding and funding projects that use complex information help people and our planet. Meet researchers, technology experts, development professionals, non-profit leaders and activists to share ideas and experiences with the power and potential of big data for constructive social change.

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