Suggested Computer Tools & Resources [Knowledge Base Index]
Online volunteers use a variety of computers, software and operating systems -- most online volunteer opportunities are not limited to only one type of computer user.
Also, online volunteers often have better software and hardware than the organizations they are assisting. It is the volunteers' responsibility to provide materials in formats the organization they are helping can use; it is NOT a volunteer's responsibility to insist that the organization upgrade or change its computers or software.
This is a listing of tools and shareware available to help your computer to be compatible with others', and to help you perform various online tasks.
PLEASE NOTE: these are merely suggestions, with no expressed or implied warranty, guarentee, or formal commercial endorsement. Please read carefully all manufacturer's materials regarding software before downloading any product. UNV nor organizations you are assisting can be held responsible for problems on your computer that may arise from your downloading and use of the materials referred below.
Links and materials will expire periodically; please contact us if there is a link that no longer works, or a particular resource is no longer available.
Suggested Resources to Help Volunteers and Agencies Share Files and Resources
To view Adobe Acrobat PDF files, you need to have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download this free software from the Adobe Web site. Sight-impaired users can download the free accessibility plug-in for acrobat (the plug-in converts the file to text that is able to read with any screenreader). More information about .PDF files and resources you can use to read and create these files are also available.
For Macintosh computer users who need to FTP as part of an online assignment (upload files to a particular area on our Web site), many online volunteers recommend Fetch, a free software program.
For IBM/clone computer users who need to FTP as part of an online
assignment (upload files to a particular are on our Web site), many
online volunteers recommend:
A trial version can be downloaded from http://www.cuteftp.com
1st Page 2000 free web builder
Maintaining Flexibility-Support for Mac and PC Compatibility
IBM/Clone users must have all of their files saved using names that are eight letters or less, followed by a three-letter file extension -- for instance, thisfile.doc or data1.xls, etc. When a Mac user sends an IBM/Clone user a file, either the Mac user must name the file correctly (the kind of software used determines the file extension); or, the IBM/Clone user must rename the file.
The most important thing when sharing files between IBM/Clone and Mac users is that they have compatible software; they don't necessarily have to have the same software, however. For instance, ClarisWorks (AppleWorks), a Mac program, can read a variety of different kinds of word processing files generated by other software. Microsoft Excel (available for both machines) can read a variety of different kinds of spreadsheet and database files generated by other software.
There is a comprehensive list of IBM/Clone file extensions (more than 700 are listed) and of the programs they belong to at: http://www.webopedia.com/ .One large issue in inter-platform file sharing is just being able to open the files and save them on the different computers. There are a few sites that offer downloads of shareware and freeware that address cross-platform problems. In reading just the descriptions of what's out there, you start to learn about what might be important in troubleshooting compatibility issues.
Publish magazine exists for graphic designers, a large group with cross-platform concerns. Their web site, www.publish.com has a software closet with various shareware, freeware and postcardware that helps interpret data between the two platforms. You must register to enter the software closet, but it is free. Some titles that seemed promising were:
Name Cleaner 1.8.0; and
Word 6.0 Convertor for MS Word.
Under the Mac listing, there are a few descriptions that sound useful:
File Lift 2.21
Name Cleaner 1.8.1.
And the PC:
Internet Text Translator
X change for Windows
Another helpful site for Macintosh shareware is http://www.appleprograms.com/
Troubleshooting advice is available on www.zdhelp.com. This is a site run by Ziff-Davis publishers. Upon entering compatibility in the search box, a one-screen list of tips and FAQs came up. The descriptions indicate that the corresponding information would help with common cross-platform problems like sending compatible e-mails and opening image files.Other Resources
An award-winning community of thousands of computer professionals with over 800 support forums and an ever-expanding link library for every conceivable support issue. Free e-mail notification service to let you know when your questions have been answered. Membership is free and totally confidential, and no cookies are used. Forums are divided into two groups and seven subgroups: SOFTWARE (MIS, Programmers, ISPs, Instructors) and HARDWARD (Server Rack, Communications Rack, Wiring Closet)
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