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posted some nonprofit technology trends and news late last month, but found
some late breaking nptech news items I wanted to add. This month the news is
about WiFi embedded in a magazine, Braille smartphones, ultramobile devices, innovation in Eastern
Europe, Windows 8 Apps for Social Good Winners, a new Pinterest analytics tool, the
emergence of digital wallets, and
Ginny Mies pick for the mobile app of the month.
press was buzzing in late April
about the free portable WiFi embedded by Microsoft in select May 6 Forbes
Magazine print issues. Yes that's right. Microsoft has placed an Office 365
promotional ad in Forbes that turns the magazine in to a free T-Mobile WiFi hotspot
for 15 days.
It's apparently a real WiFi router that will connect as many as
five devices. It's mind boggling how something like this could be harnessed for
digital inclusion and social sector organizations. Available on news stands now, so check one out if you see a new issue while in line at the grocery store.
This is technology for good news from India. Mashable reports that
the world's first mobile phone specifically designed for sight-impaired people
is under development. It will be a Braille phone and it is due to come out the
end of this year at an affordable price ($185).
The phone is a project of Sumit
Dagar and the Indian Institute of
device will have a touch screen with a grid of pins that form Braille
characters based on SMS or email messages.
Gartner just came out with a
pretty set of interesting predictions on the hardware market through 2017.
It's not "news" that the traditional PC market is predicted to continue its decline
(7.6 percent) as we transition to using more tablets and mobile devices.
report also talks about a new growing form factor called "ultramobiles." These
are lightweight (one-to-two pound), full-function mobile devices, typically with
keyboards and trackpads. They will be powered by the same operating systems
used on desktops and laptop PCs – mostly Windows and Mac OS. Microsoft's new
Surface Pro is an example of this type of new type of device. I'm just
wondering how they're different from today's PCs?
Fundacja TechSoup in Poland, in a close
partnership with Dokukino and other local organizations from the Western Balkans, has launched open
challenges for the best technology-based social projects that address transparency
and accountability issues in the the Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo, and Serbia.
The ideas submission process started last week and will be followed by online
conversations, online community voting, jury voting, and a hackathons for the
best projects in each of the countries. This is similar to the success of
projects like Restart Romania in which social activists got help to develop online tools to address
corruption in high places, and also a national website for tracking medication shortages in
In November Microsoft
launched the first Windows
8 Apps for Social Good contest. The project invited developers to create
apps for social good in several categories including nutrition, health care,
emergency response, and more. The contest was a success in that judges had a
hard time selecting the winners because of the quality and usefulness of the
apps. Find the winning apps and the array of entries on
the contest page.
Congratulations to the winning app developers and all those who participated in creating apps for positive change.
The annual 2013
eNonprofit Benchmark Study by NTEN and M+R Strategic Services is now out.
It's a 40-page study that measures what's going on with nonprofit email,
fundraising, social media, and mobile. It's a free download at ebenchmarkstudy.com.
Here are some key findings:
Find a summary
of the report by Chronicle of Philanthropy's Nicole Wallace.
a social media photo-sharing website that allows users to create online
image collections around specific events or subjects. For instance,
users can pin images for planning a conference, celebrating volunteers,
or encourage their supporters to pin images related to a topic for
social change. The images are called pins and collections are called
are encouraged to share and "like" pins. They can "repin" things that
on their own Pinterest page.
You can also link a Pinterest account to a Facebook
or Twitter profile. It's a very useful tool for charities who want to amplify their
social media presence and share ideas through images.
has now developed a Google Analytics type free tool that allows
you to track the number of pinners and pins from your site, and in turn the
number of repinners and repins of your images from all over Pinterest. It
basically tells you at a glance how popular your image collections (boards)
The IT press has
been covering lots new developments lately in paying by mobile phone. Of course
mobile phone payments are not new. African countries are the primary
users of mobile banking and a hotbed of innovation in this field like the Safaricom M-PESA mobile
payment system in Kenya. The social good impact of this field to encourage
wealth distribution in Africa is immense.
are arriving quickly in the rest of the world and will change the way we pay
and collect payments. Services like Google Wallet,
Square, Intuit Pay, and PayPal Mobile Payments are some of the big name services that are emerging. I
could go on and on about this one so I'll just tell you what I've been reading
on the topic:
TechSoup has three donor partners in this technology area if you'd like to
try out a new mobile payment collection service:
Ginny Mies is a former journalist and former senior editor at PC World
Magazine and now
TechSoup Global's content curator. I'll just quote her:
"I picked this
one because it is cross-platform, up-to-date, and provides a very handy
(Android, iPhone, Windows Phone), annoying junk mail doesn't stand a chance.
Using this free app, you can take a photo of the junk mail you want to get rid
of and PaperKarma will do the rest of the dirty work. The app uses its database
to find out the source of the mail and will contact the sender to remove you
from its distribution list.
Very, very cool, I
Image: Digital Wallet, Shutterstock
You didn't mention the major announcement from Adobe that they will abandon selling/supporting stand-alone suites and apps. This move will have a huge negative impact on small to midsized organizations, especially those in the non-profit community. Without deeply discounted Creative Cloud subscriptions, many of us will be forced to purchase, learn, and use inferior creative software. For those responsible for getting our organizations' message out, it's very big, and very unsetteling, news. V.Veerkamp