2015 Agenda

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Aspiration events are first and foremost convened to strengthen the ties and social networks of technology practitioners in the non-profit/non-governmental sectors.

The #npdev session list is co-developed with participants, facilitators, and partners in the time leading up to and during the Festival. We strongly encourage you to join in the fun at this unique and interactive gathering!

The agenda is designed and facilitated using Aspiration's unique participatory model, in an environment where powerpoint slides are discouraged and dialog and collaboration drive the learning.

Our philosophy centers around getting participants into small-group discussions where they can discuss topics they are passionate about and get answers to their questions and curiosities. Sessions at Aspirations have particular traits; we de-emphasize presentations and lecture, and instead focus on "break-out" sessions that are self-organized whenever possible .

Wednesday November 18


Wednesday Breakout Session I

Important to document the people who are documenting, doing the human wrangling as just as important as the code writers. Coalition of partners, education of people in the context of the software.
Get further from the scary "and then they went to jail" stories into a more relatable. Things you do on the internet you don't want everyone to know about, shre that. Those discussions get people to think about privacy and how they can control information in person rather than on the internet.
Talked about OwnCloud and where it falls short (collab). Talked about "why" on "why transfer" which is bigger than Gdrive.
Challenges and pain points. The technology and frameworks work with your CMS, if you're contracting with a third party. Managing a contributor base. How do you vet people, get them to come back for more. Do you source volunteers or pay translators? Then maintenance. who updates for all new languages? TransEffects has a free plan for FOSS. Mensource(?).
Talked about stages of strategies, what's included, what order they go in. Barriers to healthy living.
History, comparison to wordpress. Building custom themes for drupal, basic modules. Also back(?)
Take young adults on autism spectrum for testing jobs in the software space. Offer free services.
talked about challenges to creating that, some ways to make it happen. Why would we want to do it?
basic concepts in widely used crypto tools. Some people who had tried to get better at it, but had been frustrated. Don't use PGP. Do use Signal and OTR. Do use Tor. Careful about VPNs. Crypto Concepts relevant in post-Snowden era.
lots of CRM, we made a list! People really like talking about CiviCRM, still the only open source one. SalesForce is free for nonprofits, but "free" like in "drugs." Be careful where you put your data (meetup.com won't let you have your data back). Think about your data model, what you want to store and use it, etc before you chose your tool. Think about security because you're dealing with people's private information. Or something.

Wednesday Breakout Session II

Privacy is important, you don't know the identity of your visitors. Privacy compromised on web by third-party trackers. Keep everything on your own servers so you can control who has access. Also be sure your website loads well over Tor. HTTPS. Common misconceptions: decreases your SEO (not true) -- Google prioritizes HTTS sites.
Talked about creating an environment for changing a large org. Internal campaigns. Ways to foster a culture that facilitates change.
Folk from Palante and Open Flows shared their experiences. Good to have people in the co-op that can easily come to consensus. need to be sensitive to personal lives. Different models to setting up, profit sharing, cost. Lots of people around who might answer your questions.
What life looks like on the other side for 43mil emails. Benefits -- own dev team, make own share button. But some things get harder (punctuated equilibrium) -- see yourself in a "sending email business". Some things are the same -- need a concrete Theory of Change.
Brainstorming about what comes to mind when we think about "security." It's an overlap of digital, physical, and mental. Interrelated and interdependent. Don't exploit or cannibalize other domains. Walk your talk. As a trainer, be aware of how your identity plays into your work. Also self-defense training and digital training, see the two come together in a program. Open Source means "more open, transparent, less private," and how we can combine these conversations.
Grant is awesome. Translated complicated ideas and concepts into easy for new folk. Sites need constant care and updating (esp for malware etc). Research plugins to be sure the developer is legitimate. Roots to find out more information. Different layers of themes and plugins, backend dev versus live site. Backups! Do them!
Defined failure as "not meeting expectations" internally or externally. Need time to reflect, tools to reflect and prevent similar failures. How to create healthier, more reasonable expectations for self and others.
Treat your servers like cattle, not pets. Config management makes everything better for recovery, sharing collective wisdom as accidental admins. Don't trust your cloud hosting provider -- either have your own, or distribute across a bunch of servers so it's hard to access everything. Lots of anecdotes.
Different communities of practice we participate in, then how those were formed, organizational structures, what worked well for each or wish were better about them.

Thursday, November 19

Thursday Breakout Session I

Thursday Skillshare

Thursday Breakout Session II

Friday, November 20

Friday Breakout Session I

EFF's efforts to erradicate DRM everywhere, within our lifetimes. Also in software embedded in hardware. Also surviellance work, and protecting encryption. If you're not a member, become one!
Military drones, CorpWatch assisting journos in knowing what's up, especially in Yemen, Pakistan. Talked about PTSD in young white American men, because showing families of victims doesn't hit us in the same way.
No one click solution, but a handfull of things you can do. CDMs, removing cruft, lazy loading, caching. There's an amazing handout in the notes.
Apache / MySQL / PHP without MAMP. Reenable root access to get at Apache config by booting into some mode. Walked through steps of setup. Copious notes.
How to continue to build our community and move it forward. Listserv we're doing to revive by telling success stories. Generating collaborating pricipals / code of ethics. What do we want in the in-between time? If you are a consultant, or work WITH consultants, please join the listserv.
How to install Python, have an environment, then went into Python for servers, for data scraping, for machine learning, etc. Read all the notes and links. Huge resource list.
How versatile Python is, Django, pip, flask, scraping tools, went over some code.
Very visual representation of the session.
Talked about specific things to add to contracts to make them clear. Ideas on if you charge for discovery. Charge for support in ongoing contracts? Link to sample contracts so we have something to look at.

Friday Science Fair

Friday Breakout Session II

It was like a scifi come true. Terminator and skynet etc. Blockchain has different instances (not just BitCoin!). It's a program that is like a ledger you can create a contract which you're held to. The left needs to get involved because if we don't get off our asses, the evil corps will get ahead of us and exploitation will exponentiate.
Talked about learning in general, online learning effectively. Do I need an LMS or a CMS?
The point of usability testing is adoption. Link to a set of slides as a template of a 30-minute usability session. Need to remind your participants that you're testing the prototype and not them.
Procurement offices buying things for the government need to do it better. SHould be on envioronmental sustainability but also labor rights. We need to help procurement offices doing an unsung job do it even better.
Therapy session. Knowledge sharing of pain points, issues of growth, hiring, internal issues. We came out with more channels for us to keep talking throughout the rest of the year so we can help share those tricky problems.
Introduced to OpenNews. Help tech people create distributed content as well as those giving reporters better tools to do their jobs. Crow Data brings crowd sourcing principles to analysing and tagging text.
Talked about all the terrible ways the voting act has been gutted over the past ffew years. Tracking pain points. We need people on the ground. App to pair with local groups, implicit and explicit, etc to track voter violation. Then we grilled about that and told horror stories about data and voting rights.
Case scenarios to the forefront. Principles are not the process, processes can blur the principles when you're working on client-side services. Decided that "do iterate, do your retrospectives." Retrostpectives that are brief, fast, forward thinking. Likes (what is known now) wishes (what might work well in future) and mights (what might work well in future).
International network that isn't well represented in the US of people teaching each other how to be data literate called the School of Data. How can you move into being informed by data, including strategy. They have a pipeline of using data, pedagogical tools for teaching data literacy.
Facebook to email to snapchat to SMS. Important to engage with people where they are.
Project of EFF and Linux Foundation. Goal is to encrypt the entire web. It's free, automatic, secure, automatic, collaborative. When you obtain an SSL certificate could take hours and hours, now can take minutes.
Brainstormed tools and tactics (you'll find list in notes), what to do before, during, after your action. How interesting it is that tactics valid for analog are still some of the best, need to update with the tools we have today. Importance of legal and community support of those involved in the action. And generating noise to cover the action.
Found 3 major problems : user interface is confusing. Also users, because they're usually confused. Have a complicated tool, it's hard to make that easy.

Friday Breakout Session III

SMS and texting. Different ways you can use for community organizing. Lots of specific exmples. Also thinking about the future -- it seems to be replaced by Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. Looking at potential ogas to partner with on campaigning and organizing.
What does it look like for the boots-on-the-ground assessor? People before processes, don't be onerous. Determind stakeholder, levels of change capacity, how to build up capacities, custom build a process that will enable that agency moving forward. Also has a toolkit platform : ecl.gy/needstoolkit Looking for more feedback.
Tool and a process. The tool part is what helps the process. Solves deployment and collaboration problems. Newbs using git can use it!
Start with strong passwords, get a robust security plugins (lmiit attempts), best practice is to hide your url login. Vet plugins, auth your themes, delete all unused plugins and themes.
Being mindful and intentional about your personal rituals and how they make a base for your future actions. Boundaries. Toxicity of deadlines and overwork. Religious and genderational. How connections work on our self-care needs. Nonviolent communicaitons, scripts from the captain awkward blog, need to talk with others to get them to validate that you have this need.
Theats, impacts, tactics for improving the level of digital security literacy. There are social practices as well as specific tools. Need for new activities like pizza and key parties. Should be welcoming (not a place for jackassery)
Fistfights and physical fights of any kind are super dangerous. If someone wants a fight, you don't have to have one. If you are going to carry a weapon, pepper spray probably the best.
Thought an event would be on a pad of paper. Facilitators need to tell a story across teh event (also before and after). One on one happens before events like this to gather information in advance. Lots of info on the wiki.
Definition of diversity (different perspectives and backgrounds). Inclusion goes into welcoming, rather than just having, those differences. Talked about codes of conduct and how they might help. Tips and tricks on how to handle difficult situations which might come up.
  • Backdrop - Facilitator: Nate, Note taker: Nate
Fork of drupal. Released a year ago, next year will have a user-focused release. Going after teh traditional audience of Drupal. Revisiting the original mission statement. Backdrop CMS "enables people to build highly customizable...." Intention is to have a governing body about changes to the CMS are in alignment with that. Contirbution community is growing (50+ folk). Rolling 3-month release cycle. Lots of stuff out of the box.
Activist and techie, client-services model. Don't be in control of another orga's process. Learn from them, what they're doing, what they're about. Sometimes it's not a technical solution, or it's a low-tech solution. Talked about sustainable tech (don't install things beyond teh capacity to maintain). Try not to be the "techie guy."