Tech Information for Interns and Volunteers


Here is some tech information that may be useful.





Your Own Laptop


We have donated office space, electricity, and furniture, but we have not yet figured out how to get 100 donated computers. We therefore ask interns and volunteers to bring their own laptops. Windows or Mac is fine. Don’t forget the charger (and the currency converter if your international computer requires it; you can buy them inexpensively at K-mart around the corner from here). If you do not have or cannot bring a laptop, please let us know. We have a few donated laptops, but they are not great, and you may prefer your own.


Google Docs


We use this all the time. Please sign up if you have not. We only share docs with gmail addresses, so if you did not use a gmail address when you applied, please send that to


If you create any Google docs, please make the owner (not one of Robert’s other email addresses) immediately. Give it a name that is clear and sure to stand out among hundreds, and start with “CTP – “ so that everyone recognizes it as one of ours, such as: CTP – Student Organizations.


If we share a Google doc with you for projects, please work in it. Do not download the file and work in an Excel file on your desktop, since we cannot stay in synch if you do.


There are some handy tips on using Google Docs (now called Google Drive) at




Please sign up for Dropbox if you have not and install the app on your computer. When you sign up, you will start with 2GB of free space.


At the time of this writing, they had a deal to get free space when you invited friends and took other actions, but they may discontinue that at some point. Here is how it works at this time. (If you find this is no longer offered, please let us know, and we will remove this). Click ‘Get Free Space’ on their site to retrieve your personalized URL. Distribute it to friends (via email, FB, twitter, whatever) and get them to sign up. Each time one uses your invitation URL to sign up, you will get another 500MB of free space, up to about 18 GB or so. Space fills up fast, especially with big graphics files, so invite your friends before someone else does. To learn more great tricks to make Dropbox even more useful, see


When you first sign up, please see the sign on the wall (near the wi-fi instructions) to see who needs bonus space. If you need more space, please post your name and email so others will use it. Then remove yourself when you have enough.


Please be sure to keep all CTP files you work on or create in the appropriate Dropbox on your folder so they remain accessible and synced. Never download files from the Dropbox website, as they will be outside the system and will not synch.


We are migrating some things, including graphics files, from Dropbox to soon. Among other advantages, it offers much more space in the free plan. Please go ahead and sign up.


Internet Connection


We have wireless. See the sign in the main room for the network and password. The Ethernet jacks under the desks are not connected.


File Names


Clear file names are essential for keeping track of shared files. We are real sticklers for this. Please use this convention: CtP Draft Pitch to Organizations Sierra Club  2016_08_04 b (John Muir).doc


As you will see, the file name is made up of CtP and a hierarchical categorization that goes from general to specific. Separate each level with space-dash-space. Within each level, just use a space between words (no underscore). Date in the format shown. Multiple versions of a file on a single date should be distinguished with a lower case letter. Name of the last person to work on it in parentheses. No other dots in the file name.


Please save Microsoft files in the older format (doc, xls, ppt) rather than the new format (docx, xlsx, pptx), which cannot be read by people with older software.


If you work on someone else’s doc, do not overwrite it or change its name; just Save-As with a new file name (using a new date and/or a new lower-case letter). That way, we can go back to prior drafts if necessary.


Images for Presentations


We typically use Download the pic with the watermark. If we all agree it looks good in the presentation, we can buy the image. So don’t delete the image # from the file name when you save it.




Many of us get a flood of emails every day. Two things will help:

  • Use clear subject lines (always a good idea with all business emails). When emails go back-and-forth and the subject changes, be sure to update the subject line.
  • If something is pressing, talk in person—especially for Robert.


Sending Files

When you send files to people here, just attach them to an email. Do not zip them if they are less than 10MB, as it just makes extra work. Also, send them as Word, Excel, or pdf files, rather than sending through Google drive.




If you are going to post stuff on lots of others’ Facebook pages, there is always the chance that FB will think you are spamming and freeze your account. So do these two things:

  • Mix up the language. Do not post the same text on lots of pages.
  • Create a fictitious but credible-looking FB account (with some friends and content) for this purpose, so you are not putting your own account at risk.


Handy Websites


Free Stock Photos

We are often looking for free stock photos. We have created this page with a list of free stock photo sites.


Handy Web Tool

Get Free. It will help organize your life.


Backing up your own computer

How do you back up your computer so you do not lose everything if your hard drive crashes, if you get a bad virus or malware, or if it is stolen or damaged? We urge you to sign up for an online backup service!