cutter's blog

Web Based Collaboration Tools

Want to learn how to have your progressive team work better over the web? Gina Trapani, editor of the Lifehacker web site writes about the collaborative tools she uses to coordinate the efforts of her editorial staff scattered across the country.

What is CiviCRM

Describing what is CiviCRM, what it can be used for, and some advantages and disadvantages in using CiviCRM to manage party activists

Stanly County Canvassing

A light rain on Saturday did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the group of volunteers and some of our local candidates, who went door to door in Stanly County as part of the Democratic Party’s 50 State Effort kickoff. Along with them to help spread the message was North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meeks. The Stanly County Democratic Party is conducting a vigorous Get Out the Vote campaign this election season and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, from office work to door to door canvassing. Go to the Stanly County Democratic Party web site to sign up. Don’t just talk, Act!

Methods and Capabilities

Well looks like I have caused my first inter-party squabble. Seems like my plan to blog about the VAN has caused some concern about revealing too much about the NCDP “methods and capabilities”. I don’t agree with these concerns but since we all have more important things to worry about now, like electing a Democratic Congress, I will not be writing any more about the VAN.

For some fun reading, check out the Google links on the GOP Voter Vault database and ask yourself do we even come close to this. Note that one of the top five links is to the NCGOP web site.

Bar Code Scanner for VAN data entry

The VAN
(Voter Activation Network) software allows you to enter data from call or walk lists by using a bar code reader. I bought a Wasp WCS900 barcode scanner from Amazon for $167.00. Yes there are cheaper bar code scanners out there, but I have used Wasp scanners in other applications in the past and they have worked well. Plus I get free shipping from Amazon so that allowed me to spend a few more bucks on the scanner.

This model uses PS/2 plugs to connect in between the keyboard and the PC. Wasp also has a model that connects to the USB port on the computer. Since our old computer at Party HQ doesn’t have any USB ports, I went with the PS/2 model. A barcode scanner sends the information to the computer in the same format as a keyboard, so no drivers have to be installed. Just plug it in and use it.

Blogging on the VAN.

I am going to start blogging on my experiences using the VAN database in running our local GOTV effort. One of the powers of popular software applications is a active on-line community that shares tips, tricks and best practices on how to get the most out of the application. My intent is to start that kind of discussion here so we can leverage the knowledge of the netroots community to best use the VAN to support and elect our Democratic Candidates.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions or topic suggestions.

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