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status: new yearhelpW

Sat Dec 30 19:30:10 EST 2006

 Jennifer Gibson our new fund-raising VISTA is very ill. The
 prognosis is hopeful, but she is unable to work.
 Fortunately, Eric Bryant, the runner-up by millimeters was still 
 interested in the job. He has no grant writing experience, but has a 
 good degree, did a better job preparing for the interview than the I've 
 ever seen and had the strongest grunt work reference I've ever heard:
 	'By far the best employee we ever had.'
 Felicia Sullivan, Eric Sac, John Miller, Lil Hazen and Gerald Byaruhanga 
   opened their homes to Erich Jansen & Jennifer Gibson for 8 nights of 
 VISTA-candidate hosting.
 Big thanks to Peter Miller for starting the CTCNet/VISTA program, 
 without it, we wouldn't exist.
 Huge thanks, to Paul Hansen for his many quiet contributions, the most 
 recent being allowing us to submit Eric B's paperwork 3 days past the 
 deadline. Without Paul's help here, we'd be a lot farther away from 
 raising the money we need to get by some day without the CTCNet VISTA 
 When we needed just $300 to pay the last VISTA fees, fundraising was 
 pretty easy. We collected that last $300 at least three times. People 
 kept saying stuff like:
    "Thanks to the skills I got at the CSL, I can
     run the fry-master at Cisco and make the
     big bucks"
 So far:
 	 "We just got a big grant, but need more money."
 ...isn't working as well.
 However, there is some truth to this story.
 In January there will be several weeks gap between my last dayjob 
 paycheck and the start of the grant payout for the boomer grant.
 We have $16,000 locked solid for mvhub improvements. (Chris Shannon & I 
 are working on the RFP now) Most of the cash will go to some worthy CS 
 students who will do the work. (Matt? Matt?) However it is highly 
 unlikely the cash will arrive even remotely close to payday. From the 
 deeds work, state money arrives about 60 days after you've done the work.
 At our pay rates $244.23 will buffer a week. At our pay rates, waiting a 
 week less for a paycheck is a big deal. At any pay rate, knowing that 
 somebody cares for your work enough to care for your paycheck is a 
 tremendous morale boost.
 Make a tax deductible donation at:
 We had a "tech summit", The best part of the meeting was when we talked 
 first about what we thought were the strengths and weaknesses of the 
 All were agreed that CSL tech support and work in emergencies was 
 Gregg empathized that it was rare for people to accept criticism, let 
 alone see criticism as a feature, seek criticism out and use criticism 
 to improve.
 All were agreed that it was bad we've failed to finish some projects in 
 the past few years.
 Interestingly enough (and I realize this only now), we didn't talk at 
 all about the UTEC part of the relationship.
 It was pleasent to see modern social work doctrine [1] at work.
 Given CSL constraints, (lack of money, need to keep services going, 
 difficulty of knowing if talent is trustworthy until it is gone) and 
 UTEC constraints (we listed only lack of money), we didn't fire any 
 magic bullets.
 We did take the decision for UTEC pay CSL $1,000 from a <funder> grant 
 to develop an RFP for a database to do assessment for the streetworkers. 
 Gregg has $8,000 promised. Odds are good that it won't be the CSL doing 
 the actual work. If RFP process shows that $8,000 isn't enough to cover 
 the scope, Gregg will need more money.
 We half took a decision for UTEC to pay for a VISTA for us to work on 
 UTEC projects. No consensus was reached on supervision costs, though we 
 did agree that UTEC was awfully nice to be our fiscal sponser for zero 
 fee and that supervising a tech vista was more work than supervising 
 somebody depositing and cutting checks.
 Matt had a semester end crunch. I'm approximately on a 11pm-7am sleep 
 schedule. John's been so punctual and alert, I'm tempted to set my watch 
 by him. Kamala is even more punctual.
 My big complaint is that now that I'm (usually) rested, I've lost a bit
 of the blur for the ugly bits of the world. I'm not walking around as 
 dazed as I once did.
 My next personal infrastructure project is learning to set aside email
 and small tasks, to create blocks of time for focus and concentration.
 For those that asked "Let me know when you figure out the secret", the
 secret (for me) is regular exercise.
 Disclaimer: I've been backsliding a good bit on the exercise these past 
 3 weeks.
 Only people who are aware of know their faults can fix them. But...
 acknowledging strength is apparently good for morale. As long as they 
 aren't too contrived, status reports will now include examples of when 
 we fall short of complete failure.
 Example #1 of how we suck less:
 We can restore or examine any version of any config file on any server
 we've setup in the past two years. We also have a pretty accurate and
 readable changelog for these files.
 Big thanks to to Chris Sacca, Larry Wall, Karl Fogel, Paul Vixie and the
 discipline of our past and current wheel group.
 Last summer he worked for Red Hat on their new internal build team. He 
 liked the experience of being on a larger team and working mostly in 
 python. This semester he's doing lots of CS and Math. (Abstract Algebra, 
 Linear Algebra, Intro to Algorithms, AI, Theory of Computation, Image 
 Sleep is still a bit of an issue, He did a few all nighters for his 
 grades to be all As.
 He has a girl friend at least since the summer. She likes Dar Williams.
 [Doesn't everyone love Dar Williams?]