July 2, 2015

Periscope for Nonprofits: A Quick Guide & Review

FINAL Periscope-798x310

Caroline Avakian Headshot finalLive streaming has been thrust into the limelight recently with the release of Periscope — a free mobile app that allows any user to live stream from wherever they are. The whole concept of Periscope is to virtually place you somewhere in the world you would never be if it weren’t for the app.

Even as a nonprofit techie, I tend to look at new apps and platforms with a bit of skepticism because I don’t always think nonprofits should jump on the bandwagon of the next new shiny app that promises a lot and underperforms. That said, I do feel it’s important to keep updated on new tools, make an educated decision on whether it’s right for your nonprofit, and have a strong reason either way as to why or why not your nonprofit is using that social tool. I’ve noticed that having a well prepared answer at the ready is especially handy at board meetings when conversations start to drift to why your npo isn’t leveraging a certain social platform.

So when Periscope came along, I did what I normally do — I downloaded it to my smart phone and started playing with the app and paying attention to how others were maximizing its potential. I quickly realized Periscope could be a powerful broadcasting tool for nonprofits.

But how do you know if it’s right for your nonprofit and if it is, how do use it effectively?

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October 12, 2009

The Extraordinaries: Building the ‘micro-volunteering’ movement

JD LasicaAt Net Tuesday last month and the recent gathering of social change organizations at Chronicle Books, both in San Francisco, participants heard from Jacob Colker, co-founder and CEO of The Extraordinaries about their ambitious effort to kick-start a “micro-volunteering” movement of people who help worthwhile causes in their spare time through the use of their mobile devices.

Who knew that “the power of spare energy” held such potential?

I continue to be impressed by the breadth of projects being supported by The Extraordinaries — whose name, co-founder Ben Rigby told me at NetSquared, is a bit tongue in cheek but also points out that each of us is capable of contributing to the greater good in extraordinary ways. Last month Time magazine, in a listing of New Ways to Make a Difference, cited the Extraordinaries as a prime example of using new technologies to advance the social good, “from using your smartphone to view and label photos (to help digitize museum archives) to snapping a picture of a local park (to help build a map of places where kids can play).”

It’s simple to participate: Download the free “The Extraordinaries” application to your iPhone (or to a similar smart phone) or use a Web browser to peruse the list of micro-volunteer opportunities. Follow them on Twitter at @extraordinaries. Sundeep, a principal in the organization, taught an online class about micro-volunteering last week on eduFire; look for others in the near future. Continue reading

July 17, 2009

Symbian: Going open source has made huge difference

Symbian goes open source from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaProbably few people have noticed that Symbian, the operating system that powers nearly half the world’s smartphones (compared with the iPhone’s 1.1% overall market share), is opening up its platform and going open source.

Samsung“Being open source has made an incredible difference in how we interact with the community,” says Anatolie Papas of the Symbian Foundation. In this 5-minute video, she talks about recent changes at Symbian, the value of open source, and the large number of software developers around the world writing code for Symbian-powered mobile devices.

The interview was conducted at the Traveling Geeks‘ Tweetup in London — which Symbian helped support — on July 5, 2009, with a Flip Ultra, and you’ll notice a few audio artifacts.

Anatolie charges her Symbian phone once every 2-3 days and uses it for data uploads and downloads constantly (which iPhone users can only dream of). She also talks about her “absolutely fantastic” Samsung Omnia HD i8910 phone (pictured), which sports an 8 megapixel camera, and mentions some of the cool Symbian-powered smartphones coming out this fall, including the new Sony Ericsson Satio with its 12 megapixel camera.

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