There are a couple of curated resources I use regularly for discovering new things that can help improve my life.
Please let me know if you have resources you like for these sorts of things. I'm always on the lookout for good quality resources.
There are a lot of Google search tricks out there. OK, not exactly tricks, but functions that aren't obvious but are super useful. One of my favorites is the site: command. It tells Google to only return results from a particular web site. If a site has a poor quality search feature, then using Google is a quite useful alternative.
For example, if I'm looking for WCN's annual report, the site search lists 2013 as the top hit. But if I use Google site search, I get all of them. (2016 is the third result for some reason, but at least it is there.)
annual report site:wildnet.org
You can also use it to browse all the images on a site. I find this useful for getting a high-res logo, or for pulling down an image that I can use in promoting the site.
I still use an RSS reader (Feedly) for much of my news. It's the best way I've found to aggregate all of my sources in one place. But for a few sources (including my own organization’s news feed), I want to know immediately when something new is posted.
I did some research of various services, and the one I ended up using and liking best is RSSFWD.com.
It's run by an email marketing platform called Campaigner. which I don't use. But I do love companies that provide useful tools to the world for free. So giving them a shout out as a company worth checking out if you are looking for email marketing. (Definitely don’t go with Vertical Response.)
MacBook Pros—at least the Retina display ones—have a built-in HDMI adapter, which works perfectly for driving an external monitor with a native resolution of 4K (2460✕1440). However MacBook Airs only have a ThunderBolt port, so you'll need an adapter.
I started with a standard ThunderBolt (or mini DisplayPort) to HDMI adapter, but the resolution peaked at HD (1920✕1080). I wasn't sure if it was the adapter, the monitor, or the MacBook, so I tried swapping out all 3.
From that, I discovered that a mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable was the only configuration that worked reliably. Of course this means you need to get a monitor that has a DisplayPort input. Not all of them do, but thankfully there are enough choices, and even some at the lower end of the price range have it.
We use VoIP phones at work, and have standardized on the Polycom VVX-310 desk phone. By default when you transfer a call, it will show the transferer's extension rather than the original caller’s info. Super annoying.
But there’s a really simple fix for this buried in the phone’s settings. This RingCentral article walks you through it, but the exact steps might be different for a different model of phone. For theVVX-310, it is:
And you're done! You can back out of the preferences to the main screen.
Siri dictation (speech to text) for emails and text messages is by far the quickest and easiest way to input text on the iPhone. Just tap the microphone button to the left of the space bar on the iPhone keyboard. And these tricks will make it even easier.
First, you can name pretty much any punctuation character to add it: period, question mark, exclamation point, comma, colon, dash, close paren, ellipsis…
You can also insert returns by saying new line, or start a new paragraph by saying new paragraph.
And Siri knows a few emoticons too: smiley, frowny, and winky.
But please only use these (and dictation in general) when you are alone. Don't be that jerk.
We have a campaign page that include a donate widget near the bottom. The problem is that most browsers automatically scroll the page down to the iFrame when it loads, which always happens after the parent page loads. But there is a workaround.
At the bottom of your page—just before the </body> tag—include a simple, 1-line script to tell the page to scroll back to the top after everything loads:
My organization sets up for slide/video presentations in a lot of different spaces. I've found that having a short-throw projector plus a dedicated projector stand makes it easy to get it set up in a variety of configurations.
Standard projectors require you to place the projector 6–10 feet from the screen, which means you need to create a gap in the seating to accommodate. And the cables (power and video) need to be run even further, and generally across an area where people walk.
Short-throw projectors work just 2–3 feet from the screen, so you can put it in front of the seating. And it is a small enough gap that no one will try to walk between. You can also get an ultra-short-throw projector if you want to put it even closer (<2 feet). I bought an Optoma, and I'd recommend that brand.
I also recommend a Pelican case to protect your substantial investment.
For the screen, if you are looking for portability and value, blackout cloth is the way to go. I do have a proper 16:9 screen, but it is very long and won't fit in most cars. The cloth can be rolled the short way and works great (as long as you have a variety of clips, cord, and braces to mount it).
There are a lot of limitations in the built-in SalesForce reports. One particularly annoying one is that—while reports rendered inside SalesForce can have images—when you export to Excel the images are not embedded.
We solved this by using Printliminator to remove all of the extraneous header and footer from the page, and then Print to PDF. Yes, you can't do additional large-scale edits after this (like adding columns or sorting), but it works well for a printed report.
We had a storm last night that knocked out power for about 4 hours. Thankfully—because I have an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)—my internet connection stayed up, as did my Network Attached Storage (NAS) and backup desktop. It gave me enough time to cleanly shut down these devices before the battery ran out.
Some CyberPower UPSs (and other brands too) have USB ports that can tell your computer or NAS that it is on battery and will trigger an automatic shutdown.
Be sure to calculate how much power your equipment will draw so that you get the appropriate size. For my setup of a modem, wifi router, NAS, and desktop computer + display, I got 650VA.
More tips for MailChimp users. We discovered that the internal list name we chose (“Master List”) was exposed to our subscribers when they click on why did I get this? in the footer of the email. Also, if you want to edit the content on that page—for example to add your logo and make it look more legitimate—click on the list, then click Settings > Required email footer content.
Similarly, when subscribers click on the update subscription preferences link, they go to a page for where they can update their display name and email address, and any other fields you've defined. On that form, MailChimp shows them all of the categories and groups you've created and let's them change which groups they are in. So make sure those names are donor-friendly!
My previous post covered generating a remainder email list when only a subset of the list was successfully mailed.
We imported that list into MailChimp, which then told us that 3 addresses were not imported because they had previously bounced. But they gave us no way to actually see those addresses. Great. 😕
So now we want to download the list that was imported, compare it against the original, and generate a list of only the duplicate addresses (the intersection of the original list and the import list).
Here's the scenario: we wanted to send an email to a group of about 400 supporters. Due to a poor import user experience on the part of MailChimp (more on that later), the email only went to about ¾ of the list. So now we need to send the same email out to a new list containing only the people who didn't receive the first one. Basically we want to subtract one list from the other:
Original list (400 people) - Sent list (300 people) = Remainder list (100 people)
I used a modified version of this de-duping process.
What the formula does is check the cell in column A's previous and next neighbors. If either match the current cell, it leaves the cell in column B blank. Otherwise it copies the address over from column A to column B. You are left with only the unique addresses, which are the ones that have not yet been sent to.