Wednesday, October 29, 2008

60,000 hits and growing

Thanks to you, Upic Solutions website ( continues to grow in popularity. By the end of October, we'll exceed 60,000 hits for the year (compared to 40,000 in 2007 and 24,000 in 2006).

An October survey of our website visitors say that 90% have been able to meet their objectives in visiting our site. Top rated objectives include: checking messages/working remotely, obtaining company information and attending training events. We appreciate your feedback and your support of our website.

Since it's the end of October, let's check out a fun 3 minute Halloween video (rated G) from our friends at Common Craft. Everyone should know how to spot a Zombie, especially when Halloween is on a weekend! Now that's a hit everyone can enjoy.

MS Office tips-now at Upic University

Looking for tips on how to do a mail merge or perhaps how to set up your out of office message in Outlook?

Upic University's on-demand training sessions now include several Microsoft Office tips as an optional menu item.

Each Upic member has access to a growing list of on-demand webinars, based upon your organization's membership profile.

To instructions on how to enroll, visit

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wikis in Plain English-Video

Wonder whether wiki writing would work well for United Way? (Try saying that three times fast).

Maybe you are wondering what is a wiki? The following Common Craft video explains all in about 4 minutes.

Upic is reviewing potential wiki platforms as a forum for our members to share best practices with one another. We believe that a wiki will assist all of our members in learning more about technology and ways we can all be more effective in our work. Watch this space for more on Upic's wiki community.

P.S. We're looking for a creative name for our community's wiki, please submit a comment below. We'll provide a gift card for the winning submission.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Passionate about community building?

Today, Upic provides technical/application support to over 1000 United Way and non-profit staff members. We believe there is tremendous knowledge within our Upic member community and we're looking for the right person to lead this effort.

While the position is called Technical Writer/Online Trainer, the most important attributes are having the heart of a teacher and the organizing skills of a community builder. With emerging Web 2.0 technologies, we believe the right person can help us energize and harness the power of our Upic community to support one another's growth.

If this is you or someone you know, we need to meet. We have a big opportunity ahead that requires passion, heart and technical skills.

You can apply by emailing us or by checking out our posting on Career Builder.

New notifications service: Irgent

Upic's new notification service "Irgent" can reach you by one of four contact methods: phone, fax, SMS or email. With each contact method, you can choose either a personal or business contact.

With Irgent, you are in control of how you want to be contacted, depending upon the urgency of the notification. And since this service is housed outside of Upic's data center, we can contact you in the event of a data center outage when traditional email notification processes are not available.

Notifications as a service have many other uses for United Ways. Instead of relying upon a staff "phone tree" in the event of a weather event, Irgent can contact and confirm receipt of the message. Also, Irgent could be used to confirm volunteer participation in upcoming meetings, including meal responses.

Upic members who would like to be added to the Upic notification process (in the event of a data center situation) are asked to contact Winston Faircloth by email. Irgent is available as a monthly subscription service via our partnership with Premiere Global. Contact Jay Young and mention the Upic discount program.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Urgent Windows update

(Sat 8:00 am update) Over the past 36 hours, Microsoft issued a critical security warning for all Windows operating systems. This required Upic Solutions to perform emergency maintenance on all data center servers and Upic member personal computers covered by our Technical Help Desk (Adagio).

Microsoft and Upic management believed that the severity of this issue warranted immediate action and therefore we are conducted an emergency shutdown of data center servers on Friday, October 24th starting at 8:00 pm Eastern. As of 7:00 am on Saturday morning, all Upic hosted services were completely patched and were fully operational.

Upic member PC systems (with the help desk A icon loaded)will also receive this Microsoft security patch via our remote control capability the next time they are powered on. All systems will require a short reboot cycle once the patch is applied, so this means that system startup will have this extra step on Monday.

You do not need to take action to receive and initiate this patch. Upic's remote management services will deploy and reboot all workstations to activate the solution and secure your systems covered by our technical help desk service.

Microsoft recommends that ALL Windows PC's receive this patch as soon as possible. For home PC's, please run the Windows update by going to Start> All Programs> Windows Update.

Technical details for Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067 are documented here.

For ongoing news coverage (in non-technical language), please see the following links.
Microsoft's urgent security update: What it means
Microsoft Bug: Patch Now, Patch Fast
Time to patch Windows again ASAP
New Worm feeds on latest Microsoft bug

Our Help Desk technicians will be available to assist you or answer any questions starting at 7:00 am on Monday.

Live United thank you video

The Live United thank you video is now available on You Tube. It needs something. Maybe a laundry detergent product placement (Tide, anyone)?

60 miles in three days

Please allow me a small personal favor.

My wife Susie is participating in this weekend's 3 day/ 60 mile Breast Cancer walk in Atlanta, GA.

Breast cancer has hit our family twice. Susie's mother died at age 37 when Susie was a freshman at OSU. Susie's sister once had a 20% survival chance, but is a cancer survivor for the past 14 years.

It's cold (temps 46-50) and rainy (what drought?) in Atlanta. Despite these conditions, thousands of participants will be walking 20 miles Friday, and again Saturday and Sunday.

If you'd like to help, please click here for more information.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Streisand Effect

Want to become famous on the Internet? Object to something you read and ask it to be removed from the web.

A few years ago, pilot Gabrielle Adelman and photographer Kenneth Adelman decided to photograph the entire California coastline (see

Singer Barbara Streisand objected and insisted that photos of her home be removed from the site, which set off a firestorm of publicity for the photography project. Soon, hundreds of others copied and posted the photos on their websites & blogs, resulting in Google Image Search easily returning the photo searching on "Barbara Streisand House".

Despite her efforts to remove the photos, a new Internet sensation was created, costing her well over $150,000 in legal fees when she lost the case.

Blogger Mike Masnick coined the term the "Streisand Effect" for events where attempts to remove content from the Internet cause it to spread broadly instead. A popular blog of the same name now chronicles other's efforts to muffle the power of the Internet.

Some companies are doomed to repeat the lessons of history.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Top 10 computer passwords

Friends don't let friends use dumb passwords. So, please, PLEASE make sure you avoid using one of Top 10 Computer Passwords for your Upic network sign-in.

It won't take a rocket scientist to guess that "letmein" or "qwerty" or "123456" are in the top 10 computer password lists. But you may be surprised what else makes the list (from the UK).

And no, "2hot4u" did not make the list in England.

Comcast gaining from Web 2.0 lessons

Organizations are learning to pay attention to the voice of the customer using Web 2.0 tools. Last week, I posted the infamous video of a Comcast technician asleep at a customer's house while he (technician) waited for the help desk to respond. It seems that Comcast is no longer asleep when it comes to obtaining customer feedback.

Check out Comcast Cares on Twitter which provides customer feedback to Comcast via text, IM or cell phone. Rather than wait in a "voice mail hell," customers can reach a real person immediately and ask questions or report service issues.
Web sites like are popping up providing valuable customer reviews/feedback and are definitely worth monitoring. Make sure to do a Google search of your organization name from time to time and see what others are saying.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Google's answer to EWI (Emailing While Impaired)

Ever come home from a long day (or night out) and plopped down in front of the computer and emailed something you immediately regretted? This syndrome is better known as EWI or "Emailing While Impaired".

Well, the folks at Google have just the answer, using their gmail service. It's called "Mail Goggles." It works by activating the gmail add-on and customizing when you want the Goggles to stop you from impaired emailing. For example, nights from 10pm-6am might be a good idea if you're a morning person like me.

When you're in that time window, you will have to answer a series of simple math problems that might not be so difficult when you're alert but if you're having trouble answering them, you get a gentle reminder from Google that perhaps it's not the best idea to press "send" after all.

Let's bring a halt to EWI. Give Mail Goggles a try.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Video: Web Search Strategies in Plain English

Google is now a verb, meaning to search on the internet. After watching this video, you will be able to filter "Billy Ray Cyrus" out of your search results for a type of fish.

Now I can search with more focus and better results, thanks to the latest "You Tube" video on web searches from CommonCraft. Enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Upic on-demand training reviews

The reviews are in and Upic's on-demand training series is a hit.
See what our members are saying:

"The Upic on-demand webinars are exactly what our United Way has needed. The step-by-step instructions are done at a perfect pace and the fact that no sessions are longer than 10 minutes allows you to fit it into your schedule very easily. The classes cover important subjects and no matter what level of user you are, you will certainly learn something new". --Rick Collins, AVP of Information Management, United Way of Central Ohio (Columbus, OH)

"I volunteered to be part of a "pilot program" focused on using the Upic video training course. I really didn't know what to expect and sort of thought it would just be boring. I was wrong! It's very interesting, clearly written and so easy to understand. The courses are given in plain, understandable English and you don't have to be a computer genius to understand what they are talking about. I would love it if the online college courses I'm taking right now were even HALF as clear as the Upic courses! " -- Sandy Burleson, 211 Remote Information & Referral Specialist, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County (Asheville, NC)

Power of Social Media: Comcast video

Just for fun....Google the word "Comcast". The 9th most popular entry? A "YouTube" video of a Comcast technician sleeping on my couch. The Comcast technician fell asleep waiting for their help desk to pick up the call. Their service was forever immortalized through the use of social media.

"This is why social media is so important," Charlene Li, co-author of Groundswell said, "this YouTube video recorded by 'Brian' resulted in the Comcast brand going down the toilet. You must understand that the power is now in the hands of consumers."

Source: Social Media for Business-Who's Doing It Well & How

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Video: Social Media in Plain English

Welcome to Scoopville. Big Ice Cream Company is facing a big challenge from a new invention.

This very entertaining video focuses on basics of social media: the new technology that makes everyone a producer and easy to use tools that give everyone a chance to have a say.

"YouTube" video and transcript of CommonCraft's Social Media in Plain English. Enjoy!

"Email is kind of...the eight track player"

Well, that quote from Peter Droege of the Daniels Fund (a foundation in Denver) really got my attention. This comes from a new report on Foundations and Web 2.0.

Droege was referring to his organization's efforts to communicate with young people who receive college scholarships from the foundation and to foster a sense of community and camaraderie between the students.

The fund set up a Facebook group (log-in required) after it realized that their students were not using its Web site or responding to numerous email messages.

I wonder how many young professionals find United Way websites and email newsletters as valuable as that Saturday Nite Fever eight track cassette?

Source: Chronicle of Philanthrophy 10/2/2008