Category Archives: Activist Hacks

Create Printable Checklists With LibreOffice or OpenOffice

(Be advised: For this system to work you need Webdings, or another font that features a hollow square, on your system. Also, I created this on Ubuntu GNU/Linux so your mileage may vary on option placement within menus)

Checklists can have a big impact on your ability to get large numbers of people to do things more precisely and effectively. I wanted to make some printable checklists for Green Party tabling, event production, you name it.

I tried creating a bulleted list in LibreOffice but found that, absurdly, it was missing a “hollow square” bullet graphic. They have solid squares:

…which are not helpful. They even have “checkmarks”

which create, of course, the opposite of the psychological effect I want to achieve with this list. What about the provided “graphical bullets?”

Absolute garbage. So what do we do? I hunted around, and if you click on that “Options” tab you find a screen that allows the selection of a character as a bullet:

Click on that strange, sad little ellipsis box next to “Character” and a pop-box appears:

Select Webdings as your font, and scroll down until you find that lovely Hollow Square. Select it, then select “Ok”, and start making a template using a bulleted list:

Make note that I’ve adjusted the indent of the list. Your team will thank you. Ok, maybe they won’t, but take some pride in your work, dammit! Are you worried you’ll have to go through this song and dance every time you want to make a checklist? Put your fear in my mind-vise so that I may crush it, as we save your work as a template!

Ahh, but templates can be such a pain to find amid your myriad drafts of WALLANDER fan-fic, right? Then we’re going to Import your template file into LibreOffice’s gallery. First go to File -> New ->Templates and Documents. Now you have a new window:

In the pop-up shown above, click “Templates” and then “Organize.” That gives you another pop-window. Click the “My Templates” folder, then “Commands”, and select “Import Template.”

To access this template in the future, select File -> New ->Templates and Documents, then click the Templates icon…and there it is:

Happy checklist-making.

Oh You Have Got To Be Effing Kidding Me…

So, this morning I’m doing some maintenance at GPBK and I notice the contact phone number. Or rather I notice I don’t recognize it. I reached back through the mists of time to a previous regime and recalled we once had a voice mail service, that we let said voice mail service lapse. But maybe we updated the number after the vmail account collapsed? Oh no. It was the voicemail line, only now our former number has been delegated to some sleazy marketer with an AM Radio “Cash 4 Gold” voice.

Luckily I had a Google Voice account tucked away and that service includes free voice mail at a local number. Pretty handy! We even get voice mail notifications transcribed, texted and emailed to us now.

Care and feeding of the organization, my little chickadees! That is what will get you. You’re not a political organization if you’re not organized. That would make you simply political, and a bore at dinner.

In other news I secured meeting space for a GPBK local covering Greenpoint, Williansburg, Bed-Stuy, and Bushwick. First meeting is this Tuesday — continuing last Tuesdays of the month. I sent an eblast out announcing that, among other things this evening, which you can view here.

I’d like to try something, a scheduled web chat with Greens every Thursday night from 7pm-9pm Eastern Time. No idea who will show up. But we need to get creative with community building quick.

Quick Tip: Thunderbird Tags + Trusted Trio = Quick Inbox Processing

I get a lot of email and so do you. Gina Trapani’s Trusted Trio system of email folders is really helpful for sorting and storing whatever comes in. Every email you get either goes into the “Follow Up”, “Archive” or “Hold” folders (or is deleted).

Gina says her system is an adaptation of a Merlin Mann system, and to my eyes it looks similar to Gina’s cooked-down general approach to Getting Things Done.

The idea is we need to sort our email, but an overly-complicated system of folders yields diminishing returns since it takes time and effort just to decide where an email is supposed to go.

Reducing the number of folders to three helps, but it still takes…well…effort to drag those messages (with “Holds” and “Follow-Ups” and “Archives” all mixed up with each other) over to the different folders, and when processing a backlog of messages that can be a pain. And if your IMAP email is on a slow connection it can take a while for each folder to update.

My little contribution to this system, for Thunderbird users, is to use the numeric hotkeys for Thunderbird’s built-in tags for sorting. In my case I use “1” for Follow Up, “2” for Archive and “3” for Hold. These tags will instantaneously markup your email headers, with a neat color code to boot.

Then just use the “View” drop-down button on your toolbar to filter the Inbox by a tag. Then highlight all those “Archives” or “Holds” or whatnot and drag to the appropriate folder in one stroke. Voila! Now it takes only three drags to empty your Inbox, no matter how many messages are waiting.

If the View dropdown is not already there, right-click on your toolbar near the top of the window and click “Customize.” Drag the button to an empty space on the toolbar and you’re ready to go. Tag titles can be customized under Edit -> Preferences -> Display, and then clicking the Tag tab. Happy sorting!

Encouraging Diversity in Open Source (and organizing…)

Q: How do you go about ensuring diversity in an open development project? If all comers are welcome…

The same way any diversity effort happens, I think. Outreach, specifically asking people to engage, having prominent community members whose identities are clear.

Q: That’s interesting. Is that, in your view, an ethos that's coming from the White House?

It was more about what I saw as the failings of the tech industry where people would excitedly say, “You can get people to contribute to an open source app just by giving them t-shirts!” And the choice of t-shirts are men’s medium or large.

via Encouraging Diversity in Open Source | Smarterware.

Free Mission Statement Builder

Mission Statement Builder | FranklinCovey

A fun and useful tool that uses questions about your goals, “what would you do if you could not fail…”, traits you admire in others, your favorite work, and talents to stitch together a coherent and not-cheesy personal mission statement.

It also builds mission statements for your team and family, and there is a “freewriting” option.

You provide a name and email so the results can be mailed to you, and there are options to opt out of the mailing list and sharing your answers with the site’s online community.