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Learn tips and hints to use a variety of electronic and technical equipment to enhance work with volunteers.

~ January 2009~

Backup Your Data

         2008 provided the Volunteer Today office with two opportunities to lose all the data stored on computers.  First, the computer with the records about our book sales had a hard drive mishap!  Then the publisher’s hard drive died.  Not good.  In both cases there was a hard drive back up on another computer in the office.  But, some things were missing, including all email addresses.  It was grim.
         There is help for data storage off site for smaller operations or home computers.  Mozy provides free automated back up for files. 

How It Works
1. Sign up for an account.
Create a MozyHome user.  Then download MozyHome software.
2. Download and install software.
For the Mac users among our readers there is a Mac version at http://mozy.com/mac
3. Select files to be backed up.

Simply check the boxes next to the backup sets, or types of files you want to back up, and MozyHome does the rest. In addition to selecting files by backup sets, you also have the option of selecting specific files and directories.
Some of the other options:

  • Open/locked file support: Mozy will back up your documents whether they're open or closed.
  • 128-bit SSL encryption: The same technology used by banks secures your data during the backup process.
  • 448-bit Blowfish encryption: Secures your files while in storage, providing peace of mind that your private data is safe from hackers.
  • Automatic: Schedule the times to back up and MozyHome does the rest.
  • New and changed file detection: MozyHome finds and saves the smallest changes.
  • Backs up Outlook files: Disaster-proof email protection.
  • Block-level incremental backup: After the initial backup, MozyHome only backs up files that have been added or changed, making subsequent backups lightning fast
  • For more information visit http://mozy.com/

Instant Messaging:  An Invaluable Tool

         A recent weather crisis in the Northwest quarantined this writer for two weeks at home.  And with only dial-up for access to the outside world.  No talking on the phone and looking at the Internet.  Thanks to Instant Messaging, I could stay connected in real time when needed.

Instant messaging is not just for teens or young adults.  IM is a tool for distance supervision, connecting volunteers to each other, and a way to talk when phone calls seems pointless.   

Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. The text is conveyed via devices connected over a network such as the Internet.  It can be your computer or a mobile phone.

It is important to understand that what separates chat and instant messaging from technologies such as e-mail is the perceived synchronicity of the communication by the user - Chat happens in real-time before your eyes. Some systems allow the sending of messages to people not currently logged on (offline messages), thus removing much of the difference between Instant Messaging and e-mail.

While many services have additional features such as: the immediate receipt of acknowledgment or reply, group chatting, conference services (including voice and video), conversation logging and file transfer, those functions are beyond the scope of this article.

It is possible to save a conversation for later reference. Most IM programs allow you to limit who has access to your message board.  Maybe today is the day to back up your data and sign up for a free IM program and start communicating instantly with those in your personal and professional life. 

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