Posted on December 20, 2006 in Uncategorized by Sarah DaviesView Comments

I have an Amazon wishlist, but it doesn’t allow me to add donations to nonprofits. In fact, I haven’t found a site where I can make a list to send to my family that shows things I want and nonprofits I want to support. Froogle has a wishlist feature, and it has nonprofity schwag that shows up in online retailers, but that means the whole donation doesn’t go to the cause, and they don’t crawl the online stores of lots of things I support like Creative Commons and EFF.

I ran across Changing the Present today, and it’s much closer to what I wanted, but the only things on their site are neatly packaged specific things. For instance, you can buy an OLPC laptop for a child in a third world country. The problem with this model is that you are restricting the ways in which the nonprofit you are donating to can use the money. In nonprofit circles, it’s called a restricted grant. It’s by far the most popular type of grant, and one of the least helpful to nonprofits. Nonprofits need unrestricted grants. They need to support their own operating costs and upgrade their equipment and do research and court funders. Buying a goat for a farmer in Bangladesh is great, but it doesn’t allow the nonprofit providing the goat to stay open.

So, if someone sees (or if one of you hotshot developers reading my blog could make) a site where I can collect links to material stuff I want people to buy me and links to nonprofits I want people to make unrestricted grants to instead of buying me stuff, I would be very happy about it. (ow, the grammar of that sentence was painful)

Posted on December 8, 2006 in Uncategorized by Sarah DaviesView Comments

photo by scottru

We went to a new event called Ignite Seattle last night. They had a series of what they call “ask later” talks, where anyone can sign up to show 20 slides and talk for 5 minutes. The catch is that the speaker doesn’t get to control the slides. They each go up for 15 seconds, keeping everyone on time and making for some extra improv in speaking. Before that, they had a bridge building contest. You got half an hour, 1000 popsicle sticks, and a hot glue gun. Your bridge had to span 15 inches. If your bridge managed to hold up one of your team members, then you won a free issue of Make: magazine. As you can see above, our bridge was pretty haphazard, but it did manage to hold up our 45 lb team member!

There was a big crowd there and we met some very interesting people. The talks were mostly by local techies, some startups, some larger companies, some just for fun. There was a bar with ID and wifi. Gwen had a great time building the bridge, talking to people, and handing out stickers. (thanks, Gregory!) We will definitely go back again!