Accidental Techie

Hey, this is who I am....! Sue Bennet has finally written a book to describe all the crazy tech-related hard work I do on the side.  This editorial review from
Accidental Techies"" get some respect. I've finally gotten my hands on the new book The Accidental Techie: Supporting, Managing, and Maximizing Your Nonprofit's Technology, by Sue Bennett, with Tom Battin, Cristina Chan, Eugene Chan, Mary Lester, and Jonathan Stein. I'm delighted to say that it's an outstanding contribution to the field of nonprofit technology and should be on everyone's bookshelf. The premise of the book is that many nonprofit ""technologists"" have little (if any) formal technology training, and have had to learn a variety of skills on-the-fly such as database planning, purchasing technology, managing tech consultants, maintaining computer networks, hosting websites and much more. The book presents a down-to-earth approach to building a support system to manage technology. One of my favorite parts of the book are the ready-to-use templates, worksheets, and sample policies to plan and organize technology systems. Chapter 6 on the role of the accidental techie in a nonprofit is a ten page tour de force discussion of what has often been a taboo topic in nonprofits. The book is a valuable toolkit to help small and mid-size nonprofits adapt to the technology demands of running today's nonprofit. Kudos to CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and Fieldstone Alliance for publishing the book, and to the funders who supported it. --Michael Stein,   Nationally renowned author and Internet strategist. - February 10, 2006

Recommended Reading. Nonprofit, nongovernmental, grassroots or other mission-based organizations are increasingly turning to technology and new media to get out their message and spur social change. The Nonprofit Technology Network, or NTEN, is a professional community that offers support for those who work in their information and communication technologies at such organizations. Katrin Verclas, executive director, says NTEN advises these groups on using technology to meet their larger goals and also provides a forum for ""accidental techies,"" or those who have with little or no formal information-technology training. Ms. Verclas refers to the people at NTEN as ""techies for good."" The Accidental Techie: Supporting, Managing, and Maximizing Your Nonprofit's Technology, By Sue Bennett and Tom Battin ""This book is essential reading for anyone who has taken on technology responsibilities at an organization without any formal training -- the office or program manager turned 'accidental techie.' It includes step-by-step guides as well as templates and worksheets for various projects from assessing your systems to writing proposals for funding. Highly useful for nonprofit leaders, program staff, and board members seeking to gain understanding of their organization's technology needs. --Keith Huang,   The Wall Street Journal Online - November 28, 2006. THE JOURNAL REPORT: TECHNOLOGY
Product Description
How to manage tech support (and keep your sanity!) One day you unjammed the printer and saved the day. But now, somehow, all technology resources have become your responsibility! The Accidental Techie shows you how to create a support system that will help your organization use technology more effectively and make your day-to-day life less hectic. Step-by-step guidance to creating an effective support system. This hands-on guide walks you through five projects that, when completed, will give you a comprehensive and usable support system: conducting a technology inventory, assessing and buying technology, protecting your organization from disasters and data loss, and managing your role. You dont have to tackle the projects all at once or in any particular order. Dive in where it makes sense for you. Techie Tools make this guide even more useful. Youll find... Ready-to-use templates, worksheets, and sample policies. 135 resources on topics such as funding, discussion groups, application service providers, web site development, and donor management software. A security policy checklist. Steps for creating a database that gives you the reports you need. A glossary of terms every techie should know. How to get technology funding. A special chapter on funding reveals five questions most funders ask to judge technology requests, and gives you tips for creating a compelling request. Whether you're new to all this or a veteran, The Accidental Techie if your ally. Use it and start making your life easier today!

Last minute suggestions by APC on Internet Governance- Can they save WSIS 2?

Internet Governance is one of the most contentious issues since WSIS Geneva, when the topic of Internet governance was discussed. Since no general agreement existed even on the definition of what comprised Internet governance, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan initiated a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) to clarify the issues and report before WSIS 2005 in Tunis. Since then, there have been many debates and controversies about who should 'control' the internet, based on very different opinions for how and indeed whether the Internet should facilitate free communication of ideas and information. One of the main debates concerns the authority and participation of certain actors, such as national governments, corporate entities and civil society, to play a role in the Internet's governance.

Indeed, even the definition of Internet governance has been contested by differing groups across political and ideological lines. A Working group established after a WSIS 1 in Geneva proposed the following definition of Internet governance as part of its June 2005 report:
Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.

Last week on 11/15,  (the eve of the WSIS Tunis 2005 Tunis!), APC issued a statement on it's stand. APC, the Association for Progressive Communications, is an international network of civil society organizations — whose goal is to empower and support groups and individuals working for peace, human rights, development and protection of the environment, through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), including the internet.APC has participated extensively in the internet governance process at WSIS.

Out of this participation and in collaboration with other partners, including members of the WSIS civil society internet governance caucus, APC has a set of recommendations with regard to internet governance ahead (one day ahead!) of the final WSIS Summit in Tunis. APC proposed specific actions in each of the following five areas:

  • The establishment of an Internet Governance Forum;
  • The transformation of ICANN into a global body with full authority over DNS management, and an appropriate form of accountability to its stakeholders in government, private sector and civil society;
  • The initiation of a multi-stakeholder convention on internet governance and universal human rights that will codify the basic rights applicable to the internet, which will be legally binding in international law with particular emphasis on clauses in the universal declaration of human rights specifically relevant to the internet, such as rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and privacy.
  • Ensuring internet access is universal and affordable. APC argued: "The internet is a global public space that should be open and accessible to all on a non-discriminatory basis. The internet, therefore, must be seen as a global public infrastructure. In this regard we recognize the internet to be a global public good related to the concept of the common heritage of humanity and access to it is in the public interest, and must be provided as a global public commitment to equality."
  • Measures to promote capacity building in "developing" countries with regard to increasing "developing" country participation in global public policy forums on internet governance.

It will be interesting to see how the issue of internet governance will be resolved, at WSIS 2 and beyond. bloggers attending WSIS

Awesome resource from a human bottom-up perspective:, a multilingual coalition of bloggers attending WSIS. Lots of multimedia too-  photos, podcasts and video- totally interesting!