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status on time for once

Sun Apr 29 09:17:54 EDT 2007

 Laura showed me something from the NY Times saying the latest
 pedological rule is to praise people for their effort rather than their
 You want to re-enforce effort, because effort produces the results you
 want. Praising results makes people feel insecure about achieving them
 in the future.
 I suspect for me, this insecurity translates to a lot of effort in
 things that don't matter and procrastination on things like this status
 report that do matter.
 So all you positive people out there, don't tell me that this was good
 and funny, but tell me it showed a lot of effort to be on time.
 As it turns out my last news was old. Stephane turned down the venture
 capital because he wanted to keep his software free. He's still making
 enough money to feed the kids and Amee's dissertation. Our friends Paul
 [1] and Joel [2] say he's made the smooth move.
 If you find yourself in Toronto at 8:30am this wednesday (05/03) with
 nothing to do, you can catch Stephane live [3] , he's appearing at the
 it360 conference.
 This guy [4] is not a Joel fan and he's funny as hell.
 Sentence by sentence, "Uncle Fatty" disputes Joel's wisdom.  My favorite
 bit is the detailed, point by point refutation of Joel's estimate of the
 amount of toilet paper consumed by a programmer in a year.
 In the comments section, the Joel Fanboys score a few points.
 We're moving closer to actual work. We have a (hopefully) final scope of
 work. [5]
 One big challenge was defining the time needed for creativity and
 innovation. "Make it easy to use" is a bit different than "If 1 guy paid
 $10/hr unloads 1 truck in 4 hours, it will cost $160 to unload 4 trucks."
 Thanks to Chris Shannon for loaning us her reputation to get this money
 to pay John to do this work.
 We hit the UML north campus job fair. Thanks to Eric we were better
 prepared than we were for the past three years. We've got a ways to go
 in preparing our elevator pitch and having more accurate materials. If
 we are satisfied with "typical" projects instead of "current" ones, we
 can re-use material from year to year.
 A big advantage of having our own booth was that people sought us out
 based on our entry in the printed directory.
 Thanks to the whole Joel yacht crew knowledge we now have, I was open to
 non-technical recruits. The non-tech best fit is an honors level
 accounting major who might intern with us. She'd make sure I wasn't
 stealing money, work on cash flow & budget projections and reconcile
 our ledgers to bank statements.
 We're recruiting for June. There are a couple people from the job fair I
 need to follow up with, but  we might not find anyone.
 In the past sending an invitation to apply to everyone on the Americorps
 recruiting site that checked "computer skill" in their application and
 putting something on Craig's list brought us more applicants than we
 knew what to do with. Recruiting was better in the .bust period when
 nobody could find work.
 Hopefully, other organizations will have trouble and there will be
 another round.
 Maybe the upturn in IT means that there will be more grant money for us.
 I've been re-thinking my opinion that $50 per hour is a lot to charge.
 Even though we don't pay rent, there are a lot of costs that keep
 beating me over the head.
 It would be good to have 3-4 virtual machines setup with different
 browsers (IE 5,6,7) for testing. This work would help mvhub development
 but can't rationally be part of the contract.
 I spent at least 30 hours working with Chris on the original grant and
 to define the scope of work.
 If we billed more often @ $50/hr, we could do one hour of work building
 infrastructure for every hour of development, pay the developer a living
 wage of $20/hr and still have money left over for lunch and the overhead
 of sales.
 Eric is probably the first CTC VISTA to figure out how to do payroll. We
 are setup to make electronic payments to the IRS
 For the record, on my first paycheck, I overpaid myself about $182. I'd
 not taken into account the employer contribution to FICA. I'll write the
 lab a check.
 The tradition is to tell people they are getting paid $9.30 / hr instead
 of telling them that they are being paid $10/hr but that FICA (social
 security) comes off the top.
 The interesting thing about the process is that like software
 development, the tough part was not the "how" but the "what".
 John is all set, thanks to the cash flow loans from Kristina and Harry,
 there is a paycheck waiting for him.
 Monday May 07 at 11:30am at the eggroll cafe. Mass-Service is coming to
 visit. Our funding depends on how the visit goes.
 Art and Marybeth are the new Boomer volunteers.
 Art comes to us via Jericho Road, Marybeth from the posters Laura put
 up. Both have dived into the work. We should exceed the number of
 volunteer hours promised in the grant.
 At 9:00pm, I pretty much had to kick Art out the door so I could go home
 and sleep.
 Eight people have told me "Yes, You should ask Parker for money". Four
 of these people brought the subject up without any prompting from me.
 Two people I know that review grants part time for Parker, are likely to
 support us. One of those people said "I'll push for you to get funded."
 It is probably time to apply. After the Mass Service site visit this is
 the fundraising priority.
 Right now, my inclination is to ask for money to make the boomer
 initiative permanent. (but not limit ourselves to boomers) and hire Josh
  Harding and/or Tim O'Connor (Hi Tim!) for the mentor/lead tech roles.
 It would be nice to skim a little off the top for fearless leadership
 and administration of our servers.
 There is a Cisco academy at Lowell High, UTEC has a PC repair program,
 We'd also want money to hire a couple youth apprentices.