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Tech Tips

IT issues and facilities

Updated 16/9/13

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We give some pointers on what could be of use to small to medium size organisations in terms of technology, facilities and keeping abreast of this stuff. This is not intended to be a comprehensive approach, more what we have found, or know is, useful.

Note: ICT and IT are treated as largely the same thing on this web site (ICT = Information and Communications Technology).


  • A separate Web Tips page - Getting started , web site development etc. Also see Web Development for Organisational Management tools.
  • Relevant software books can be found on the Amazon IT page.
  • Software and IT support are covered on the Computer Services page.
  • Sample IT Policy for voluntary organisations which should be a useful starting point on clarifying how IT is used (in particular internet/email).
  • If you are looking for systems to help you manage activities (eg membership, accounts, volunteer management) see Specialist Software, which also covers developments such as Open Source and ASPs.

Sector Sources of more info

Issues raised

The following have been sourced from email lists as UKRiders, NACVS's ITnet. Currently in order of processing:

Other useful stuff

NB Mainly American in origin.

TechSoup appears to have removed its comprehensive information/resources for nonprofit staff at Jan. 2013.

Nonprofit Tech You may find particular tech tips more quickly on this site, but not as well-produced info.

NetAction's explanation of why data encryption is of relevance, and how to use it.

TechTarget is a good place to find explanations of techie terms.

Text related Services

Translation and language services

Microsoft's Bing Translator has taken over from Yahoo's Babel Fish. Put in the address of the web page you want to translate, or it can also translate (a limited amount of) plain text (do a copy and paste from a document).

We are reliably informed that ajeeb will translate into Arabic - you will need Arabic fonts installed. Will process whole pages and web sites apparently.

Braille HotBraille As the web site no longer seems to function, this is probably out-of-date. Was a free Braille service , using the US Postal "Free Matter for the Blind" Service (sends items Third Class - 2 to 15 working days worldwide). Up to 2 pages of Braille, approx 250 words, can be converted free.

Displaying different alphabets/languages

The following have been suggested on a charity forum:

It is now possible to display pages in multi-byte and bi-directional languages, for example Japanese and Arabic, by selecting different character sets. Unicode includes practically all the characters for every language, but results in larger file sizes. Also see WorldWideWeb Consortium International section.

See Multikulti as an example of a multi-lingual information service.

Text Reader ReadPlease, text-to-speech software for PCs running Windows, has been discontinued.

Adobe has a downloadable MakeAccessible Plug-in that creates a tagged Adobe PDF (Acrobat) file from an untagged PDF file which makes it readable by a screen reader.

Use and checking of IT equipment

Using basic PCs LowEndPC was a useful web site for those with, or considering accepting donations of, old computer equipment, but seesm to have gone, summer 05. (LowEndMac has existed for some time). Information on available software, for example the Arachne web browser which works on DOS (pre-Windows) machines. A little knowledge of the jargon (with a US flavour) may be necessary to get the best from the site.

Check your connection There's a good set of tools for measuring your Internet connection speeds at PC PitStop, alogn with others to check out PC performance.

Check your systems to see how open they are to attack via the internet. Qualys (provider of BrowserCheck) has some free tools to check system weaknesses that would enable somebody to gain access your computer - probably best to be selective on the tests and resulting action. SecuritySpace - a more thorough check of internet access in terms of how somebody could get entry to your network/computers.

Check Software Identify odd files when trying to sort out hard disk problems. Filext gives you an alphabetical list of file extensions and which programs they are associated with. Windows/DOS only from a quick look.

Check Virus Hoaxes at Sophos.