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status: better late than never.t

Sat Dec 16 23:09:58 EST 2006

 I lose day job.
 asking for receipts
 downtime database
 ubuntu doesn't suck
 After 484 personal emails, 4 mass emailing, 2 paid advertisements, 13
 applications, 5-6 phone calls, one missed plane and 6 days of 
 interviews, we are pleased to welcome the new VISTAs.
 	Jennifer Gibson
 	Erich Jansen
 Jennifer is an artist, has a degree from and after a year of
 experience writing grants, still likes grant writing. She will create a 
 fund-raising program with us.
 Erich is the only person to complete all our tech tests this year. He's 
 self taught and he's from Missouri. He'll be adding to our technical 
 infrastructure and possibly working on some of our custom software. His
 first job (with John) is to create training to reduce the time it takes
 new tech people to get up to speed.
 The board meeting was short, so we could strategically plan.
 Phil Reilly (medical Dr, Lawyer and business executive) and Dan Holin 
 from Jericho Road [1] attended. Phil facilitated, Dan offered helpful 
 The minutes should soon be (hint, hint) on the board list archives, but 
 as I understand them conclusions were:
 	1) We are very fundable.
 	2) Board members will write grants some Saturday morning.
   	3) We are in a relatively secure position.
 	4) We need to devote more energy to fundraising.
 	5) We'd like to have 2 paid staff people.
 Jericho road provides management consulting, accounting, lawyers and 
 other high end volunteers to non-profit organizations. Phil & Dan H have 
 a lot of experience with non-profits. In their opinion, the number of 
 organizations we serve, the type of service we provide, our use of 
 volunteers and our low overhead are the elements of a great fundraising 
 I don't think they were just being nice.
 They (Phil especially) vigorously applied the virtual spanking paddle to 
 my virtual red butt.  The number of "please sir can I have another" 
 moments was large enough for me to believe while Dan H and Phil are 
 very, very helpful, they are not "nice" men.
 For the record, spanking issues were: false modesty, mixing metaphors, 
 using the word "sucks" too much, describing a few thousand dollars in 
 the bank "enough for now" and taking on expensive projects like mvhub 
 version 2.0 without the consulting the board or even knowing if we could 
 cover costs.
 I wasn't the only one spanked, there were 3 "so, does anyone on the 
 board think they can do more?" moments. In reply there were two awkward 
 silences and at one "I'm already fundraising for 3 other organizations." 
 The end result was an agreement among some of the board members with 
 fund-raising experience, to get together "some Saturday morning". Laura 
 agreed to write grants if other people could point her to worthy 
 targets. It's been 4 weeks since the board meeting and the Saturday 
 hasn't been scheduled, but I remain hopeful.
 It should be noted that (ignoring long establish non profit tradition), 
 our board members minimum commitment [2] is to prepare for board 
 meetings and (like all our volunteers) to show up, clean, sober and 
 ready to work.
 I'm grateful for the extra help we do receive and I'm looking forward to 
 more help. I'm particularly looking forwarded to more fundraising 
 mentoring. However, I'm not ruthless enough to change the rules of the 
 game in the middle.
 The other now obvious conclusion of the meeting was what we regarded as 
 severe perils:
 	1) Loss of me
 	2) Loss of VISTAs
 	3) Loss of University space.
 ...where when objectively viewed by outsiders, not as big a deal as we 
 thought. The past predicts the future.
 While I could get hit by a truck, that hasn't happened yet.
 While we might have bad VISTAs, the CTCNet program might go under after 
 8 years or Paul might get mad at us, the odds are in our favor.
 While the university might give us the boot, four separate university 
 departments would have to move about 12 Gig of stuff off our servers and 
 John Wooding would have to take back his physical pat on the back.
 I'm out of a job on January 01 2007
 There is a limit to how long a non-student can work in a student job. 
 The university and CS Dept should feel no shame for letting me go. I'm 
 thankful for four years of reasonable pay and a very, very flexible 
 Fortunately, the Baby Boomer grant [3] and the tear-jerking but 
 absolutely true to life cover letter [4], bring in enough money to pay 
 me for next year. (assuming CSL board approval [5] )
 We are now, 501c3 tax exempt organization. At the last board meeting 
 people said enough kind things about our work to make me blush. (Thanks 
 Melissa for pointing that out to everyone, that I was in fact blushing.).
 I can't claim we'll go under without your donations or that we are the 
 best use of your money, but we sure will try to be worthy.
 Of course every donation comes with the optional pleasure of my company 
 and a complimentary beer or seltzer. Beer is covered through a 
 matching-challenge type grant, no CSL funds will be used for it.
 We plan to give everyone who donated this year a receipt for the IRS, 
 but I (duh!!) didn't record snailmail addresses for everyone who donated.
 It would save me a bit of embarrassment if people sent in your snailmail 
 addresses without a personal reminder. Don't think of yourself as greedy 
   for the tax deduction, think of yourself as open to future appeals for 
 Eric Marc Adum is half of the duo that brought us
 After being out of touch for a while he checked in this month.
 He's got three semesters to go, is getting more As than Bs, had a
 girlfriend for a while and has a market rate side job with
 We presume to hope for the pleasure of his company at the February reunion.
 Kamala has finished release candidate 01 of version 01. She is (this is
 a big surprise) waiting on me for review before going into production.
 Thanks to Phil Reilly and Dan Holin for helping the board do some good 
 Thanks to Charlotte Crockford for suggesting Dan and Phil come to our 
 Thanks to Melissa Carino, who convinced me to place the Craig's list ad, 
 which brought us Jennifer Gibson.
 Thanks to the night operator at the 200 market street data center. (She 
 knows why)
 Thanks to John Miller for his hard and relevant work. John's latest bit 
 of quiet competence was figuring out that I'd ordered hard drives with a 
 1 year warranty and replacing them with 5 year warrenty hard drives for 
 $10 more.
 Thanks to Chris Sacca who pointed out two years ago that we should write 
   more grants.
 Thanks to everyone else. We get so much help that  unless I've recently 
 stumbled over a contribution, it is easy for me to overlook it.
 In my last status report, I whined about how UBUNTU should spend less
 time on marketing and more on tech. Well I was wrong. They are a full
 disclosure group. Shortly after my message, I got the official, 
 authorized UBUNTU WEEKLY NEWS with lots of links to very unfavorable [6] 
 reviews of Edgy, the latest release of UBUNTU