Software

11) Looking for Bible Software?

Logos is still the benchmark, the standard by which everything else is judged. True, they offer a gift to Brigada if you purchase a package, but do your own study: If you can afford them, they constantly come back with the best ratings. Learn more at…

http://www.logos.com/brigada

You can reportedly do 50 hours’ worth of old-fashioned parsing in seconds, using Logos. You can study anywhere (even on your mobile device). And you can glean from original language stuff without having to go to seminary. Try it out. If you’re not happy, I bet they’ll give you your money back. If you’d like them to help Brigada after your purchase, be sure to give them the coupon code “Brigada5” at checkout. We understand you save 15% in the process.

11) Revisiting “Getting Things Done”

I’ve shared with you that a colleague or two and I have been using Nozbe for task management. Every once and awhile I catch a glimpse of something else and I wonder if it would be better. Then, by the time I check it out, I realize that I probably could have completed two or three tasks on my to do list, instead. :-) This past week, I checked out…

http://www.gtdagenda.com

First, I’ll tell you up front, this app is currently limited to just two (count ’em, 2!) users. However, we have a personal promise from the developer that they’re working on that limitation. Having said that, if you and your cohort (just 2, mind you) would like to try this program, it looks like it does have some strong points. It’s based on David Allen’s “GTD” strategy, which we like. It has the main features like Projects, Contexts and Next Actions. But it also other unique features like a “Goals & Vision Wall,” with multiple projects possible under each goal. You can even stash inspiring pictures linked to your goals, and have them delivered to your e-mail daily so you are motivated to take action. Goals can have Checklists for the repetitive tasks that you have to do, on a regular basis. It integrates with Evernote (shouldn’t everything?). It has native iPhone and Android native Apps that work offline and then Sync (shouldn’t everyone?), and also a mobile-web version that works from any mobile browser. A public API for third-party integrations is available too. So — if there are only two of you now, of if you’re planning on firing a bunch of people, check out gtdagenda. Or keep watch until they can add users. For what it’s worth.

10) What’s the Best CRM for Non-Profits, Missions Agencies, etc.

For some time now, we’ve used a SugarCRM spin-off called InfoAtHand, hosted internally but available globally, as our Constituent Relation Managing software or CRM. We expect a lot of it. We not only use it to help us remember the addresses for new prospective recruits, but also as a holding tank for data about our current members, donors, vendors, and more. But, we’ve used it since 2006 or so without much modification and, frankly, we’re beginning to feel some pressure to switch. Some of the pieces have now gone south (like the connector to Microsoft Outlook, which we were using to transfer contacts to our smartphones). What’s more, with spam email saturating as much as 1/3 of all internet traffic, today’s spam filters are becoming stricter about what they allow through the pipeline. Nowadays, it’s more and more common that we invest hours on a particular report or bulletin, only to find out that it’s not reaching 1/3 to 1/2 of its intended audience because of a picky filtering system. So we probably need to link more effectively with one of the major email distributors like iContact, Constant Contact, or MailChimp (rather than use our CRM to send the mail out directly). We’re also doing more and more events, which prompted us to need an online solution for registration and online payments. This resulted in adding yet another component (we’re using Wild Apricot, but there are several other equally capable options). What’s more, our CRM lags behind in collaborative tools, so we’ve added Podio to the mix (and we love it, by the way) for team communication and file-sharing. And at the end of the day, the truth is, our workers are no longer jazzed about trying to tweak our SugarCRM spin-off into handling all the nuggets of information we want to keep about every single type of volunteer to whom we relate.

The bottom line is — we probably need to switch. (The pressure under the volcano is mounting. :-) ). So may I ask — what has worked for you? Have you found an affordable solution for tracking contacts in a team environment, cross-pollinated with event registration (without having to double-enter or import-export), interlaced with personnel information as well? Obviously, it should be secure, easy, and affordable.

We’re currently considering:

CiviCRM — http://www.civicrm.org (I fear it will be too technical?)

Donor Tools — http://www.donortools.com/ (no event management)

Non-Profit Easy — http://www.nonprofiteasy.com (seems most promising?)

Non-Profit DB — http://www.nonprofitdb.org (does this seem quirky?)

Your thoughts? Anybody have any experience with any of the programs I mention above? Any other options out there that seem more promising to you? Please use the comments below to clue us in on your best recommendations.

12) I’m Not Color-Sophisticated

By the time I was 9, I was so color deficient, Indiana University used me in a nationwide study on color blindness. So I’m probably the last person you want developing your color templates for the web. But thankfully, Brigada reader, Eric, has pointed us to…

http://www.DOT.lighthouse.org/accessibility/design/accessible-print-design/effective-color-contrast

Web designers there, who can detect color combinations much more effectively than I, tell us basically what works and what doesn’t. I like it. And by the way, if you have trouble seeing any of the colors or combinations you see on Brigada’s online web version, please tell us. If you like, just use the comments below this item to point out our mismatch(es).

12) Nozbe just Thinks Like I Think

I continue to enjoy working with Nozbe, a software application designed to help you track and execute tasks and projects. I like it because…

*** You can ‘hide’ tasks that you don’t want to see yet. You can make them “pop up” when it’s time to start worrying about them.

*** When you “check off” a task, it doesn’t immediately go away. It gets crossed off and drops to the bottom of the list.

*** You can attach an infinite amount of comments to each task.

*** You can turn a task into a project, then design integral tasks under it.

*** It’s a web app, viewable through your browser. But it’s also a desktop app, viewable even when you don’t have access to the web. It’s also a smartphone app (available in iOS (iphone), android, and Windows phone), an iPad app, and yes — all those are fully functional even when you don’t have wi-fi or a cell signal… and then they sync with the web app and everything else.

*** You can nest your tasks in an unlimited amount of projects, or not. The choice is yours.

*** You can also use “contexts,” allowing, for example, to mark certain tasks that should show up when you’re driving or at home or at the office — because you might only be able to do them at those respective locations. If you’re not there, they aren’t visible.

*** You can attach to do items to particular dates, or — just allow them to be loose (meaning you do them whenever you can get time).

*** Nozbe is completely “team friendly,” meaning that you can see what others are doing, assign tasks to those who serve on your team, and receive assignments from the folks who supervise you. You can ask questions of team members, who can then answer you — without having to resort to unrelated email threads.

*** The whole environment is encrypted, so no matter where you are in the world, only you will see your tasks and projects as you complete them all.

You can learn more at

http://www.nozbe.com

No special affiliate code. We don’t receive a kickback from your interest. Just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

2) Are you Tired of your iPhone being out of Sync with Outlook?

Keep your contacts sync'd between your PC and your iphone.

Keep your contacts sync’d between your PC and your iphone.

This past week, I finally had had enough. I had gotten tired of not having contacts on my iphone that I entered in Outlook (and vice versa). So I checked out my options and, in the end, chose DejaOffice

http://www.dejaoffice.com/

with CompanionLink

http://www.companionlink.com

as the bridge to the iPhone. Then used a product from “Share-It”

http://www.itsth.com

called “1-Click Duplicate Delete for Outlook” to get rid of the duplicates on my PC and “Cleanup Duplicate Contacts” by Wim de Nood

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cleanup-duplicate-contacts/id513670485?mt=8

on iPhone to delete duplicates there. It took me a few hours (3?) to work it all out, but now they’re finally in sync. Contacts that I create on my iPhone magically appear in Outlook and Contacts that I create in Outlook magically appear on my iPhone. So far, I have Outlook set as the “master” (if I delete them on Outlook, they delete on my iphone), but two-way deleting is also possible. I’m a happy camper again. :-)

8) Use TripCase to Bring Order to your Travel Chaos

For years, I’ve longed for a way to make a timeline/itinerary for trips with complicated, multi-city flights. Who knew that I’d finally find it on my phone. Try it. You can forward itineraries to your account and TripCase automatically sorts out the flights, dates, times, and destinations. You can add events manually, too, and share your itinerary with friends (like your wife or co-workers from your org). Learn more at…

http://www.tripcase.com/

Or find it in the Apple AppStore.

2) Save $350 through Dec 20 on Filemaker Pro 12 Advanced

(Note: Brigada fan Robby would like to find or found a network of Kingdom-minded Filemaker programmers and hobbyists. You can help by encouraging potential participants to contact him at RobbyQButleratgmaildotcom )

Filemaker Pro Advanced is a flexible Mac & Windows programming environment, capable of creating stand-alone apps for Windows, Mac or iPad/iPhone. It can create quick, custom programs to simplify data gathering or presentation, publish a website to gather and present data, and simplify access to SQL data.

Filemaker Advanced normally costs $499 per license, or $299 for non-profits, teachers and students). And through Dec 20th, Filemaker is available for “buy one, get one free.”

Robby has offered to match up Brigada readers to collaborate in getting Filemaker for just $150 per copy. To participate (or learn more), email him at

RobbyQButleratgmaildotcom

To learn more about Filemaker, visit

http://www.filemaker.com/products/filemaker-pro/12/resources.html?referer=product

 

5) Evernote is the Bomb —

Whenever I think of a note or a piece of knowledge that I want to preserve, I immediately go to one special place on my laptop or iPhone: Evernote. It’s the bomb. Check it out at…

http://www.evernote.com

Just create one single entity per piece of knowledge and you’ll have your own knowledgebase created in no time at all. And now that the apps are so good for our PDA’s and phones, we can ALWAYS take our knowledge with us, even if we’re out of cell phone reach! And the most amazing part of all — the core [fantastic] program  is free and available for any device you own. OK — maybe they don’t make a KayPro version. :-)

One Brigada participant wrote this past week to recommend a new notebook that they’ve developed (the paper kind). Check it out at…

http://blog.evernote.com/2012/08/24/the-new-evernote-smart-notebook-by-moleskine/

5) Best Free Software to Resize Your Digital Pictures —

Here it is, quite possibly the best free software to resize your digital pictures, for example, to web-appropriate size. Let’s face it: Maybe 80% of the public are getting this wrong. Cameras keep offering more and more megapixels because the public has come to equate higher megapixel counts with higher quality (not always the case, by the way). So we now regularly snap pictures 4 megabytes and larger, even when we intend to use them on a website for which, truth be told, they would load much more quickly if they were 80k or less in size. So here’s the solution: Image Resizer:

http://www.vso-software.fr/products/image_resizer/

Mac users will want to try DroPic:

http://www.kreynet.de/dropic/

Get started today, resizing your photos to produce snappier online experiences (100kb per image max).

8) Is this the World’s Best Journal or Note-taker?

notetakerI’m not talking about a person. It’s software.

http://www.dklevine.com/general/software/tc1000/jarnal.htm

If you have a tablet computer or a computer with a touch-sensitive screen, this program will truly shine. But either way, Jarnal will be fun, especially if you’re the least bit graphically inclined. What’s more, you can always pick up a slate input device to make it even more effective with your computer. For example, add a device like the Genius MousePen Graphic Tablet (under $50) and suddenly your budding artist (or your Creative Arts Dept) has a great doodling set-up. Somewhere here, there’s a great Christmas gift lurking for the artist you love. :-)

3) Need to Create PDFs? Can’t Afford Adobe Acrobat Standard?

primopdfTry PrimoPDF (alias PDFCreator). It’s fast, it’s effective, and it’s free. See it at…

http://www.primopdf.com/index.aspx

As far as we can tell, there are no malware or adware programs installed. You can choose a paid version… NitroPDF Professional, but even it is just $69 (but only ’til Nov. 30th). With the free version, you get a file similar to a “printer driver.” When you send a file to that “printer”, it creates a PDF instead. So you can start with any program, … including 2003 versions of Word, Excel, or Powerpoint. Best of all, the “PDFCreator” version, like we mentioned above, is free.

4) Headed to a sensitive field? Encrypt your Hard Drive for Free

truecryptNow you can use…

http://www.truecrypt.org/

to completely envelope your laptop’s hard drive in a proective shell. Check it out. You can encrypt a folder, or force encryption of an entire hard drive, pre-boot. What’s more, after that, ancryption is “real-time.” You can even hide keep a hidden volume within the encrypted portion, thus tricking an adversary into believing you’ve given up the hard drive, when in reality, you’ll retain private information on the hard drive in a secure sub-partition.

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