Many Pies

Many Pies

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GoRaise Mobile for Raiser's Edge

I've been given a sneak preview of GoRaise, a new product from Shaun Sullivan, who used to be CTO of Blackbaud. You can see screenshots on the Electric Plum site. (It's only recently been given that name, and at the time of writing that web page hasn't been updated with that name yet.) It gives you access to a subset of RE functions from mobile devices.

It's a HTML5 product, so you only need a browser to access it, no other apps to install. The home page has recently accessed records on it, and then four buttons at the bottom - home, find (i.e. search constituent), query and info. Query lets you search predefined constituent queries. Find lets you search for constituent records. So you only have access to constituents (not funds, campaigns etc.)

You can view what would be on the tabs on a constituent record, as well as a summary page which has a pie chart and first, latest and greatest gifts. You can add actions to constituents as well.

Query results are presented as a list of constituents, each of which you can expand to display a few extra fields, and then the option to go to their record.

The information is presented clearly and simply, with probably just enough of what you need. The downside is that you don't have access to all of RE, but for people out "on the road" it's probably what they need to look up constituents and record the meetings they've had with them.

David Zeidman has another review of it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scratch for mobile apps

Combining thoughts from two previous posts - apps being a good way to get into programming and the Scratch programming environment. MIT have created an App Inventor which looks like an online version of Scratch, which creates an Android app. Interesting...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Data Protection Directive and NGOs

The European Commission is proposing a reform to the Data Protection rules. Although they've highlighted a few things in the press release, there is some wording which may be of interest if you work for an NGO that is made up of different organisations in different countries. (It applies to companies too, but as UK charities have to be autonomous, as I understand it, we may have looser links with our partners, yet share data.)

As I Am Not A Layer, I shall just quote rather than make interpretations.

"...legitimate flows of data to third countries will be made easier by reinforcing and simplifying rules on international transfers to countries not covered by an adequacy decision, in particular by streamlining and extending the use of tools such as Binding Corporate Rules, so that they can be used to cover data processors and within groups of companies , thus better reflecting the increasing number of companies involved in data processing activities, especially in cloud computing;" from the communication.
"Member States shall provide that where a controller determines the purposes, conditions and means of the processing of personal data jointly with others, the joint controllers must determine the respective responsibilities for compliance with the provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive, in particular as regards the procedures and mechanisms for exercising the rights of the data subject, by means of an arrangement between them." from the proposal.

I found out today that the US is working on a Privacy Bill of Rights and working together with the EU. Good to see.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Getting a list of postcodes in a parliamentary constituency

Whilst there are a few places where you can look up a single postcode and get which constituency it's in, I didn't find a single place to get a list of postcodes. Here's how I did it:

  • I got a list of postcodes and which ward they were in from here. (Also available from the Ordnance Survey.)
  • I got a list of wards and their codes from the electoral commission website.
  • Fortunately the whole constituency I wanted was in one region, i.e. the letter or two at the beginning. The reason it was fortunate is because the data is in a file per region. So I used Excel to do a vlookup from the postcode list to the ward list and filtered by those which were in the ward list.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Raspberry Pi and the BBC Micro

A sprinkling of snippets:

There is widespread comment about Raspberry Pi and whether it will be the new BBC Micro. This article by Martin Belam "Digital Literacy for all" is fairly sane. He says
Firstly, programming isn’t everything. There will be plenty of kids for whom sending an email and filling in a web form is all they need to know about computers.
The Guardian, his employer, has a campaign about IT in schools.

One thing that annoys me is that some people are saying, like the otherwise brilliant Brendan Dawes, "you have to learn to program to do anything with [it]". The recommended Linux distro (Fedora) allows you to do lots of stuff.

This podcast is an interesting discussion on what IT skills should be taught in school and university.

One of the things they mention is scratch, which one of my kids has come across at school. It's great for learning the fundamentals of programming in a graphical way.