Monday, March 3, 2014

Getting Started in Time and Talents
(The New Software)

Members,

As you're finding out, in order to gain the functions members are requesting, we've switched software platforms.  To get you up and running quickly, the Getting Started guide is a must read to help you with the switch from the previous software.  It'll get you logged in and answer many of the basic questions you'll have getting going in the new software.

You also need to read this Quick Start guide.  This teaches you about posting offers, requests, and announcements.  It also teaches you how to record transactions, indicate satisfaction with an exchange, endorsing members, creating and joining groups, and updating your account information.

For those of you that want to jump right into the mobile app, please note that you need to set up your web based account before going to the mobile application.  Make sure you've got your new password set up, make sure your profile looks OK, change what you feel you need to change, etc.

With that out of the way, we should talk about a couple of points about the website.  The banner area after you log in now looks like this:
You'll notice a 'Contact Us!' button on the right side of the banner, just above the dark horizontal bar.  The most efficient way to contact the admin is through use of that button.  Please be aware that our admin is a volunteer who works a 40 hour week at a paid job and thus cannot check emails every minute of every day.  Please allow for sufficient time for the admin to be able to see the email and respond.

Also in the banner, you'll see buttons for 'Offers' and 'Requests' (the middle buttons on that dark bar).  These buttons take you to all offers and requests that are currently posted by our members.  From that page, you can drill down by category or select the 'Browse Offers Directory' button (there's a 'Browse Requests Directory' if you've followed the request link) if you want to see all posts for every category on a single page.

To get to your personal posts (both offers and requests), please use the links that are shown below the dark bar, just under the words 'Welcome back, <your name>' where <your name> is you.  You will also see these links from your account page.  They look like this:
We will go through them from left to right:  Clicking on the left-most circle (with the dashed arrow pointing inward) will take you to your personal requests so you can edit or delete those requests.  The next circle (with the solid arrow and plus sign), will allow you to create new requests.  These arrows point into the circle to symbolize individuals asking for the members to provide something.  Hovering over the symbols brings up a little text box describing where each will take you so if you forget, you can still figure out which is which.

The next two circles deal with your offers.  Arrow pointing out, meaning you're offering services/time to other members.  The circle with the dashed arrow allows you to manage your existing offers, the solid arrow with the plus sign allows you to add new offers.

Of mention here is that there are many more categories with which to request and offer services.  This is done to help our members connect more quickly rather than browsing all posts to try to find what they need and want.  For instance, a person who does odd jobs, may not be the right person to fix an electrial wiring issue but both are help at home activities.

Also, you cannot have two offers or two requests in the same category/subcategory combination. So many of the offers and requests from Community Weaver were sorted into categories in hOurWorld to ensure all posts from users were migrated completely.

You will need to search Google Play or the Apple App Store for 'hourworld' to find it and then download to your device.  Once you have followed the directions above and in the guides provided, you can then go to the mobile application and use your login (email address) and new password.  The mobile application is being enhanced regularly so please pay attention when your app store tells you there's an update.

What you'll see are six symbols on the page when you log in.  Announcements, Offers, Requests, Search, Groups, and More.  The Offers and Requests categories are set up to show the most recent of each that have been posted.

All older offers and requests are searchable in the mobile app and use of wild card characters are encouraged.  For instance, someone might need a proofreader while others are offering proofreading services.  Search using the term 'proofread*' to see all of the combinations. 

Also, all posts are indexed every night at 2AM (Eastern) so that the posts from today are searchable after that time.  So, you are not likely to see today's new posts in the mobile app until morning.

I hope you find this information helpful as you begin using the new software.  Please come back often to see more detailed information about using the software.

Rob Harveland
Board Treasurer

Friday, February 28, 2014

Transition

Fellow Members,

Thank you for stopping by the blog. It’s true, we’ll have a mobile app this coming Monday, March 3, but the transition is going to take some time over the weekend so we’ll need to stop recording trades in Community Weaver as of 11:59PM on Thursday, February 27. Time Trader will be back up on Monday morning by 9AM. So, if you do trade over the weekend, you’ll be able to record those trades on Monday.

Please read on for the details behind this move.
As part of the transition work that you should all be familiar with, we’ve also been looking at how to address the functionality of Community Weaver and how to provide some added features that most of you have been requesting, most significantly, a mobile app. Those of you who have requested these in the past may recall that the hard part was never finding out if/when those changes would be implemented.

Additionally, Friday, February 28, is when Time Trader’s annual dues need to be paid to TimeBanks USA to use Community Weaver for the next year. As a board, we were trying to figure out how we would raise the necessary money each year.  Thankfully, Family Service Rochester continues to support us in this transition and said they would cover this year’s dues for us. But that would just delay the inevitable; how to pay the dues in future years. And there was not any projected outlook for the features our members wanted.

As we were investigating the features requested by members, we came across another software program being used in 155 time exchanges across the country.The software is called Time and Talents and comes from hOurWorld.It has a mobile app available for both Apple and Android (search your respective app store for ‘hourworld’). It also has features that allow for urgent trades and many additional features. The board has been testing the new software for about a month now, and we know that the basic features of Community Weaver are functional in both the web based software and with the mobile app along with the additional features requested.

So, the board decided to change software because not only did it offer many of the features and functions that members have been requesting, but it is also a free system that has been created and maintained by traders in many exchanges.  We believe that using the free software is financially responsible on our part and in line with the values and beliefs of Time Trader.

Important features of this new software include creating public and private groups, trading by vicinity, and trading globally. We will explain how each of these could be used in a separate blog entry.

If you’d like some quick overviews of the new software, you can check out these videos:

Brief History (3 min.)

To get you started with the new software, you will need to check out this member help document. It talks about the first steps for logging into the exchange, changing your password, checking out your profile, checking that we transferred your hours correctly, etc. The document states what the default password is set to. Because passwords on all websites are encrypted, there’s no way to pull your old password over to the new software, which is why there’s a default assigned. Of course, the ‘forgotten password’ function is always there and, based on experience, takes about a minute to submit, receive the email, and create a new password. The longest time in that process depends on your email provider.

If you go to the hOurWorld link, you’ll actually see a ‘Member Login’ link on their home page. If you click that, you’ll be able to follow the steps in the member help document to get started Friday evening but because the admins want to spend some time this weekend checking to make sure things transferred correctly, we are requesting no transactions be recorded until Monday morning. Click around, create groups, and check out the features that didn’t exist in Community Weaver. For now, the trading stop is mainly so we can spot check balances and make sure no one lost nor gained hours in the transition. If you happen to see an issue in your balances while you are looking at your account, please let us know by sending an email through the "Contact Us" button in the title bar of the new Time Trader site after you are logged in.

Currently, there are no public groups in Community Weaver. Anyone can create one and you should feel free to create as many as you want. If the admins see what they consider duplicates, we will work with the creators to consolidate those into one group.

Another note that’s important to point out about this new software; several times over the course of our testing, requests for enhancements were made by admins in many other timebanks. Those requests were implemented very quickly. For instance, mid-February, the main contact for Time and Talents software sent an email on Thursday, requesting admins to send in new enhancement requests. On Monday morning, he sent out a note indicating that there were 4 new features added based on the requests. A week later, more enhancements were added. Many of these, like global trading, are able to be turned on by the local exchanges and do not necessarily affect the current operation, i.e. they are add-ons, not so much changes to functionality. So, as we see a need for a new function, they are much more able to quickly and easily implement it for us.

Now, due to the change in software, the board expects a learning curve. The getting started document will indeed get you started, and it is a must-read. However, we know some members will want more hands on help understanding the new software. If you are among them, please let us know. If there’s enough interest, we’ll set up group events where we can walk people through creating requests, responding to offers, creating groups, emailing groups, etc. If there’s an individual that wants a one-on-one session and may be willing to facilitate one of these group sessions, we can make that arrangement.

We believe this is the best decision as we move Time Trader forward and we appreciate your willingness to jump in and figure out the new software. We do believe you will appreciate these new functions and come up to speed quickly.

Rob Harveland
Board Treasurer

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Year--"New" Time Trader

I don’t know about you but often I find great energy, fun, and hope in the word “new”. New car, New clothes, New Year, New You—you get the picture. The same can be said for the NEW Time Trader.

Ok, so the program itself is not new, but in transitioning the program to a community led group, there are lots of exciting things happening. There are new members and new businesses that will be joining, which in turn means that there will be new offers, new requests, and new opportunities. A big, grand, bucket of NEW. Reminds me of being a kid and getting a new box of crayons—all crisp colors with unblemished tips to spend hours in creative expression.  

It’s a new year….a new chance to achieve your goals, tackle a project, learn a new skill, spend more time in a hobby… all while connecting and helping in your community.

Have you heard the phrase, “When you help others you help yourself”? As a member of Time Trader that is certainly true. For every minute that you donate to help someone else, you gain that same time back into your time bank account. Plus, you get all the other added bonuses to your physical and mental health by volunteering. How cool is that?!

Is your wife nagging you to get the garage cleaned up? Do you loathe the chore yet you’d really like to make your wife happy? Read on for a solution!! Mark is a Time Trader member who is looking to help out—he’s willing and happy to clean your garage. You give him two hours time credit to clean the garage while you gain back the two hours teaching Sue’s son how to play soccer. SCORE!  Especially since you love to play soccer! You feel happy and awesome to help someone in your community with a need that they had, and you and your wife are both happy that the garage is clean. Mark is happy to have added 2 hours to his Time bank to spend later as he wants. It’s a whole huge circle of Happy goin’ on. Who knew a clean garage could do such wonders!

Seriously though, Time Trader has a lot of new and exciting times around the corner and plenty of ways to get involved. You can meet new people and strengthen your community while getting some of your needs met at the same time. Maybe you are already a member but haven’t been active recently; if that’s the case we want to encourage you to ‘get back in the game’. If you need help or assistance making the program work for you, please contact us at timetrader@familyservicerochester.org  or check out our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Time-Trader/92884166702. We want to hear from everyone. Together we can make this a strong and mutually supportive community!


Make joining and participating in Time Trader one of your New Years’ resolutions!

Meagan

Monday, June 10, 2013

Time Trader Spotlight: Brittany Bakes (and more!)



 Time Traders often ask to see photographs of the work people offer in Community Weaver. It makes sense -- if someone is offering to make something, seeing a photo of their past work can help you decide if they are the right person for the job.

Periodically we will feature Time Traders here, offering descriptions of their Service Offers along with photos of their past creations. If you are a Time Trader with a talent you'd like to see in the Spotlight, email your photos to timetrader@familyservicerochester.org along with any descriptive information you'd like included. If you have been happy with a service provided by a Time Trader, please feel free to email the same address and any photos you may have along with a request that they be Spotlighted. We will be happy to post these items to encourage the community to take advantage of all the amazing talent Time Trader has to offer!

Today we are going to look at Time Trader Brittany, who has been a member since May 2012. She is unfailingly positive and enthusiastic, and has been a great addition to our community. Here, in Brittany's words, is a description of her experience as a Time Trader:

As far as what inspired me [to join], I was a new member to the area, wanted a way to meet more people. I have always volunteered in different facets and thought this was a great way to continue that, but also got a reward for volunteering.

Trades I've done:
- made frozen meals
- made thank you cards/every day cards
- pet sitting
- watered plants
- cleaned a garage
- made treats for parties, baked a cake
- called inactive members
- Family Service Rochester 2012 Father's Day celebration help
- helped pack up things for someone selling house
- helping someone place a Craigslist ad
- dining group

I have spent Time Credits on scrapbooking, graphic design, having my closet organized, and mending, to name a few.

Time Trader feels like a reward system to me. I can do things I like and in exchange have others help me with things I don't like so much or help accomplish tasks I've been meaning to get too. Especially when I can make treats and cakes, because I enjoy making them, but don't want to eat them all myself. It's been a great way to also get out in the community and meet all kinds of individuals.


Brittany has traded several times with Time Traders John and Sandy, and they have wonderful things to say about her:

We met Brittany shortly after she joined Time Trader last spring.  She proved a wonderful resource for plant care both inside and outside while we travel.
In November 2012, we were able to request her baking skills. That resulted in a yellow cake with caramel frosting for John's 70th birthday reminiscent of his childhood birthday cakes.  Brittany added colorful balloons and his aunt's words "John you'll always be young!" to the cake.

Then in February we enjoyed Pi Pizza at the dining event she initiated - and we made another TT contact.
PS: Her boyfriend, Mike, came over and in one visit fixed a bathroom fixture problem, a computer problem and gave me a simple fix to an electrical problem.  

Here's a photo of Brittany with John's birthday cake -- be sure to say hello if you see her at a member gathering!




Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Searching for a member and more on affiliations

Now that the most recent changes to Community Weaver have been implemented, I want to go over the changes in how you can search for a member. You can click on the Time Trader banner above to open Community Weaver in a new window. Once you have logged in, hover your mouse over the "Give & Receive" tab and click on "View All Members."

This will bring up the active member roster, organized alphabetically by member's first name. Clicking on any of the blue column headings will change the way the information is sorted. For example, click "Name" and the arrow pointing down, and the list will start at first names beginning with Z and work backwards through the alphabet. Click "Joined" and you can see who joined first, or who has most recently joined and might be interested in an exchange to get started.

The white boxes above can also be useful in narrowing a search. Use the "Neighborhood" search if you are looking for someone in your community or neighborhood, perhaps for pet sitting or to help with a quick project.

I want to be sure to call your attention to the "Affiliations" box: in fact, you may want to log in and make sure that yours are current. Affiliations are community groups and organizations you belong to or are affiliated with, such as churches, civic groups, scouting organizations, schools, employers and charitable organizations that you may volunteer with. You can list multiple affiliations. To do this, log in and click the "My Account" tab. Though it doesn't look like it, you can click the actual words, "My Account." Looking at the box on the left (where you can upload a photo if you wish), scroll down until you see the words "Edit profile details" and click on them.

The first big white box is the Affiliations box. Scroll down and click on something you are affiliated with. If you want to be affiliated with more than one thing, you must then HOLD DOWN THE CONTROL (CTRL) KEY AS YOU CLICK. This will allow you to highlight multiple affiliations. If you would like to see additional affiliations, please let me know via email and I will add them.

Why are affiliations helpful? Well, if someone new to Time Trader is looking for a ride to church, they can search who is affiliated with that church and see who might just be going there anyway. If someone is looking to join an organization, they could look to see if any of the people they have traded with is already part of that group and perhaps could provide an introduction or answer questions.

As you scroll further down, check your availability, your birthday and year (which will not be public but helps me with demographics), your "About Me" box, add your Twitter URL or your website URL, and click "Save." Don't forget to click "Save!"

If you use Twitter, let me know. If we have enough interest we could perhaps create a unique hashtag that would let Time Traders communicate in a more immediate fashion.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Affiliations: what are they and why should I use them?



When you log in to Community Weaver (CW) at timetrader.timebanks.org there are a lot of options for you, and a lot of potential pieces of information you can share with other members of the timebank. Keep in mind that any information you put into CW is accessible only to those people who have become members of Time Trader.

Let's talk about some of that information. Click on the tab that says “My Account”. Look to the left side of the screen, in the white rectangle where your profile photo is. (Don't have a profile photo? Add one before May 15, send me an email telling me you did so, and I will credit your account 1 Time Credit!)If you scroll down to the bottom of the white rectangle you will see the words, “Edit Profile Details” in blue. Click on them.

On the next screen, if you scroll down just a bit, there is a thin gray line making a box that is titled “Networks.” Within that is a box titled “Affiliations.” These are community groups and organizations that you may have ties to – schools, churches, civic groups, etc. in alphabetical order. You may click on more than one, you just have to hold down the CONTROL key as you do so, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “SAVE.”

Affiliations are useful in Time Trader because people can search with them. Thus, if someone needs a ride to a particular church, they can search for people who are already going there to get a ride. Similarly, you can look at affiliations to see if there are people who belong to a particular civic group or who are affiliated with a school or community activity about which you may want information or which you find trustworthy. Want information about getting your child involved with a 4H or scouting group? Trying to decide between two people who offer the same thing? You could use their affiliations (or their location, or their availability) as the tie breaker.

Affiliations are one more way for you to tell people who you are and what is important to you. The more information you share, the more likely you are to find people who wish to exchange services with you.

Questions? Comments? Want a particular affiliation added to Community Weaver? Contact the Coordinator at timetrader@familyservicerochester.org.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Turn Your To-Dos into Ta-Das!



I am a list maker. I LOVE lists. Sometimes I do something, realize it wasn't on my list, write it down, and then cross it off. I like to see the progress I am making, even if it is slow. A friend called this To-Dos and Ta-Das and I adopted it for myself. Who doesn't love saying, "Ta-da!" when they finish a task?

I challenged members to make a list of things they want or need to do. A number of members responded -- and I edited them so all were in the same basic format and grouped them according to category. The italicized titles in parentheses are where I grouped them in Community Weaver's categories. You may feel like some should be in other places -- this is why I ask everyone to look at multiple categories when looking to have an exchange -- we all file things a little differently in our own systems.
To see the categories, visit timetrader.timebanks.org and log in. Then click the tab marked "Give and Receive." Click on the white letters on the tab, not on one of the pulldown menu items. This will bring up what used to be called the Marketplace. You can view all categories and subheadings there.

These are not current offers or requests on CW, but they COULD be. If you have some items here, you could post a request to cross something off. If you look through the list and see things you could do, think about posting an offer.

ORGANIZING (Help at Home > Housekeeping/Chores)
 organize/clean out the kids room 
 organize closet with the shelves
 come up with a good system for sorting, organizing and filing our mail (crap) right away
 
SPRING CLEANING (Help at Home> Housekeeping/Chores)
 clean everything on shelves in laundry/boiler room
 clean out and organize the side room
 thoroughly clean extra room which has housed dusty cat litter box
 dust picture frames on the wall 
 wash fronts of kitchen cabinets
 wash contents of china cabinet
 purge clothes, kids'  toys/clothes & stuff from basement

PARTY PLANNING (Recreation> Events)
plan a 1st Communion

HOME IMPROVEMENT (Home > Painting)
find a painter for the house
paint upstairs family room
touch up the paint in my kitchen 

HOME DECOR (Home > Miscellaneous
decide on carpet to replace in entry stairway
get house ready for selling

YARD & GARDEN (Home > Garden & Yard Work)
design front landscaping



COMPUTER TASKS (Business Services > Clerical)
put left-over garage sale stuff on Craigslist

PHOTO PRESERVATION (Arts, Crafts & Music > Photo & Video)
organize my scrapbooking projects
scan all old photos into digital format

ATHLETIC GEAR (Recreation > Sports)
tune up bicycle
wax, tune up snowboard

COOKING AND BAKING (Help at Home > Cooking & Sewing)
make up 5-7 freezer meals 

create some quick fix meals (frozen)
bake banana bread

ERRANDS (Help at Home > Miscellaneous)
bring donations to Goodwill

SEWING (Help at Home > Cooking & Sewing)
get some clothes sewn
make/buy curtain for bedroom

CHILD CARE (Help at Home > Child Care)
need someone to hold a baby so I can get a few things DONE around the house
get birth announcements out
write and send thank you cards

WEIGHT LOSS (Wellness > Diet & Nutrition)
find a weight loss partner

There it is, a list of potential requests and inspiration for offers on Community Weaver. Are you a great organizer? Love to paint? Want the opportunity to hold and snuggle a baby for a few hours? Enjoy planning parties and celebrations? Have a great scanner for those precious family photos? What can you offer this community?

Don't forget, it's March Madness here at Time Trader, so any exchange completed between members in March and recorded on or before April 8 earns you DOUBLE Time Credits.
Next month, we'll talk about spending those Time Credits ...