Sun provides a good opportunity for non-profits to network with prospective developers, and a hotel horror story.
The JavaOne conference started early this year, with a Sunday session
intended to connect willing developers with non-profits that need
their services. The session was hosted by Sun Microsystems, which
actually has people devoted to the task of connecting Sun employees
with volunteer opportunites. It was organized by Net Squared,
who is devoted to the task of expediting use of the web by
Before I get to that, though, I've got to say a few words
about the Powell Hotel. It sounded nice enough when I
registered, but it was somewhat shy of truly magnificent,
if you get my drift.
The lobby was nice, and the staff was great. But the first
impression of my room was "tiny". That was ok, though. It's
not like I'll be having any basketball games in it. But
then I began noticing things:
It took forever to make an internet connection, and
even when it said it was connected, it never really
There was no kitchen, refrigerator, or bureau. (In past
years, I've stayed across town for a lot less, and had
The TV reception was flaky, and the remote control even
The bathroom was freezing, because the window wouldn't
close, and the faucet was loose.
There was noise all night long from the ice machine around
And all this for a mere $144 a night! (The words "tourist
trap" come to mind. The cable car stop is right outside the
door, and that location is no doubt responsible for its
continued existence.) In short, my stay there lasted exactly
one night, and I've moved 6 blocks down the street.
As for the NonProfit meetup/mashup, it worked pretty well.
There were about 50 people, even divided between projects
and developers, and quite a few connections were made.
I was there with a project idea that can use the web to
make money irrelevant to the election process. And I'm
happy to say that I found some interested developers!
(It's pretty simple, really: A filtering aggregator that
puts all the voiting advice you need, all from people and
organizations you trust, all in one place.)
I've written about the idea at length at CitizensAdvisory.org,
you can see the Design paper to see how and why it will work.
(I'm also looking for a non-profit to host the project. So if
you know of one, send them my way!)